Rockford Public Schools 18 Mills Non-Homestead Property Millage Renewal

Millage renewal ‘crucial’

October 8, 2009 // 0 Comments

State proposal to cut per-pupil funding would be ‘catastrophic’ Two issues relating to school funding are coming up. One is the renewal of the 18 mills non-homestead property millage renewal on the November 3 general election ballot. The second is a state proposal, currently voted down by legislators, to cut $218 per student funding to school districts across the state. For Rockford, failure to approve the millage renewal would cost the district seven percent of their operating budget—five million dollars per year. If the state funding per pupil were cut, that loss would represent two million annually from the district’s budget. Rockford Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler commented on both issues this week. School districts are required by the state to turn in their completed budgets each June. The state does not have to pass a budget until September. Unlike the federal government, Michigan is required to operate with a balanced budget. “Right up until the middle of August we were told there would be a freeze in school funding,” Shibler said. He said in mid-August the Senate passed a bill to cut per-student funding by $110 per child. Shibler said the house took no action on the bill. “Now it’s September, teachers are in the classrooms, staff has been hired. We have no solid foundation [on what to expect in funding],” Shibler said. “Now, literally last week the state Senate and House passed a joint committee which recommended a $218 per-student cut.” Shibler said it would have been “nearly impossible” to assimilate such a cut in the district. He credits grass roots efforts, such as the organization he has chaired here in Kent County since 2001, with letting legislatures know this proposed cut is unacceptable. “Now they have passed a resolution extending the current budget and that’s where we are now,” he stated. “That kind of cut would be catastrophic, not only for us but across the state.” For the general election on November 3, Shibler said it is too bad there is nothing but the millage renewal on the ballot. “We need people to get out and vote.” The millage is a renewal of the non-homestead property tax passed in 1994. It does not affect any residential taxes, only businesses and secondary homes, such […]