Study Ties Economic Benefits to FWCS Proposal

By Megan Trent
By Maureen Mespell

May 3, 2012 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Fort Wayne Community School officials have unveiled a new study that points to possible economic benefits tied to the district's referendum.

On Thursday, John Peirce, Vice President of the FWCS school board, explained the significance of the Hanover Research study, saying the referendum would bring a $172.1 million into Allen County if adopted during the May 8th primaries.

"We can't afford to spend tax payer money patching things much longer. It's too expensive to do it that way," says Peirce. "We need people who are in favor of this not to sit on their hands assuming somebody else is going to vote."

The "Strong Schools, Strong Community" initiative would generate $119 million through increased property taxes to make infrastructure improvements at 36 FWCS buildings over the course of four years.

Tax payers would pay the bond measure over the course of twenty years. Someone with a $89,000 home would pay about $27 more in taxes per year.

The study was funded through a contract between FWCS and Hanover Research. While the organization typically concentrates on educational studies, this study utilized a standard input-output model to gage the possible economic impact of the proposed project.

The direct impact of the measure would amount to an estimated $101.7 million. Peirce says this takes into account wages for the more than 800 workers required to complete the project.

The indirect impact comes from increased business to business spending on things such as supplies and materials. That could add up around $25.6 million according to the study.

The study also says $44.7 million would be the induced impact as workers hired for the project spend money in Allen County.

Other benefits not being factored into the economic impact study could include an improved learning environment, increased property values, and a more attractive community to perspective businesses.

Peirce says, "This is good for business. This is good for homeowners, because it protects their property values. It's good for the community. It's good for us messaging that Fort Wayne, Indiana, is all about excellence in education that will attract jobs here for our residents."

The district faces an uphill battle, however. Similar referendums, including one by FWCS five years ago, have not historically been successful.

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