In a few weeks, Macomb Township voters will head to the polls to pass or reject a , the proceeds of which will be used to offset recent state and federal funding losses in Macomb County's 21 school districts and the Macomb Intermediate School District.
The 1.2-mill property tax proposal, which will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, is expected to raise $27.5 million, or $206 per pupil across the county when first levied in 2011. According to the MISD, this is approximately one-fourth of the $785 per student funding local schools are losing annually as compared to 2008.
"This is our only way to receive (additional) funding," said Chippewa Valley Schools Superintendent Ron Roberts. "This is in no way a silver bullet for our district, but it is the only way."
Roberts added that in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 8 election, Chippewa Valley will use its cable station, email blasts, newsletters, word-of-mouth and any other resources at its disposal to offer additional explanation and statistics on the millage and its benefits if passed.
“It’s imperative that if you do believe in this, and you think it’s a good thing for our district, that you talk to those people you know, because for this to pass, people need to talk to people," Roberts said. "We need every single vote we can get ... it's all about who gets their people out to vote.”
Who benefits from the millage?
Approximately 1,793 Chippewa Valley students, or 11 percent of the district, currently benefit from special education programs and services–a $15 million a year budget cost. While $9 million of the $15 million is funded by state and federal grants, the remaining $6 million must come from the district's general education fund.
With the passage of this millage, the district would be able to offset some of this $6 million cost, and use the funds that would normally have been used for special education for general education programs.
"If the proposal doesn’t pass, we will have an increased burden to provide services to students currently served by MISD programs," Roberts said.
According to MISD statistics, one in every seven students in the county receive some form of special education–be it speech and language therapy or classroom services.
In the first three years of the proposed 20-year millage, Chippewa Valley would receive approximately $3.3 million annually. For the remaining 17 years, it would receive around $1.7 million annually. Because the millage is designed to support MISD programs first, Chippewa Valley itself would get less in the last 17 years, but its students would still benefit from MISD programs.
"The bottom line is it’s just important to the overall health of district," Roberts said. "It will make a difference to kids. It will continue to allow us to provide services to our students that we might otherwise have to cut.”
Cost for homeowners
The 1.2-mill increase equates to $1.20 per thousand dollars of taxable value, meaning the average homeowner ($59,630 taxable value) would pay 20 cents per day, or $71.56 per year.
Homeowners can calculate their exact cost with a special program on the MISD website.
If approved, the mill will be imposed for a period of 20 years, or 2011-2030, and the revenue from this millage will benefit Macomb's 21 school districts.
Editor's Note: It has come to the editor's attention that some statements in this article could be construed to suggest unlawful actions on the part of Chippewa Valley Schools. While the district does plan to distribute informational material on the ballot proposal, these materials will not ask recipients to vote one way or another. Any references to "campaign" or "endorsement" made in an earlier version of this article were words of the editor, not the district. These references have been removed to clarify the district's actions.