Rep. Behning’s HB 1376 would require that school referendums be held only during general elections – except that, in the case of a school district entirely within a municipality, they can be held during a municipal election. My own West Lafayette schools could not have held the referendum it did during the municipal elections of 2023 because, although the vast bulk of the district is in the city of West Lafayette, there are some outlying members of the school district who are not in the municipal corporate limits.
This is part of some ongoing gamesmanship with school funding referendums. It used to be that you could hold those referendums during primaries or even hold a special election if none was taking place in the near future. (West Lafayette’s previous referendum was in 2017 when there were no general or municipal elections). But, as it turns out, when citizens showing up to vote are mostly concerned about education and well-informed about the ballot question, they tend to vote in favor of funding the schools. If the pool of citizens voting are mostly showing up to vote for a Presidential candidate and happen to see the school question at the bottom of the ballot, the support for referendums goes down.
So, advocates for public education tend to want to hold the question at times when citizens attention is more focused; and those who are more inclined to starve public education for resources, are more likely to push for times when voting on school questions is more of an afterthought.