2014-10-15 / Walled Lake School District

District asks residents for renewal of vital millage levies

BY ANNE SEEBALDT
CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Walled Lake Consolidated School District is asking community members to renew two millage levies in the Tuesday, November 4 annual school election.

Superintendent Kenneth Gutman said the 18 mill non-homestead and 3.9 mill hold harmless millage expire prior to the next regular election. Renewing them in November 2014 ensures the continuity of services to the students and community and eliminates special election expenses.

The levies were last renewed in 2005, and the current renewal is of vital importance.

“This Walled Lake ballot issue is the last issue on the back of a long November 4 ballot,” Gutman explained. “I ask voters to go to the back of the ballot first and work backward as to not miss the Walled Lake Schools millage renewal that is not an increase.”

Walled Lake Consolidated School District’s losses if it is not renewed would be catastrophic. The 18 mill non-homestead millage accounts for $23 million of the district’s operating budget while the 3.9 mill hold harmless renewal millage totals $7 million of the budget.

Together, they represent $30 million, or 20 percent, of the district’s $154 million budget, according to written information provided by WLCSD. In order to receive full state funding under Proposal A’s requirements, every district in Michigan must levy 18 mills, with voter approval, on these types of properties. If not renewed, “the state would not make up the shortfall.”

The other portion, called the homestead property levy (which generally speaking, applies to residential properties), “is capped at the amount necessary to ensure that the district’s combined state and local revenue equals the per pupil amount allowed under the state’s funding system,” according to the information provided.

“Walled Lake receives $8,245 per student and can only collect $437 (per pupil) locally under the law to reach this amount. Although in 2005, Walled Lake was authorized to levy up to 3.9 mills on residential properties, the district never has had to levy the maximum, and in the 2014- 15 school year, we will levy only 2.2, almost half the authorized amount.” said Gutman.

What does this mean in real dollars to district residents? The continued assessment for a home valued at $200,000 would be about $227 a year. The business levy would stay the same.

Gutman added that the Lakes Area, West Bloomfield and Chaldean Chambers of Commerce are public supporters of renewing the two levies. For more information, contact Judy Evola at judyevola@wlcsd.org.

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