Nov. 7, 2017 Enhancement Millage

Nov. 8, 2017 - Voters throughout the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District on Tuesday, Nov. 7, passed a 1.0-mill Enhancement Millage that will bring millions of dollars into the classrooms and schools throughout Emmet, Charlevoix and Northern Antrim counties over the next 10 years.

The Enhancement Millage was approved 5,648 votes to 4,324 votes.  

In the first year of the 10-year levy, the 1.0-mill will total an estimated $5.3 million, which will be distributed evenly on a per pupil basis across all 11 public schools; each district will receive approximately $615 per student beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

An enhancement millage is the only option for school districts to increase operating revenue after the passage of Proposal A in 1994, explained Jeff Crouse, Char-Em ISD Superintendent. Since then, six districts in Michigan have successfully passed such millages: Kent, Wayne, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Midland and Monroe.

“First, I would like to thank the voters of this region for believing in the power of education in our communities. The role of public schools is more important than ever in the lives of our children and our families. This additional revenue will mean students will again have arts education in one local district; more college and career readiness programs will be offered ISD-wide; and the littlest learners will not be left behind when it comes to reading and technology,” said Crouse. “Students, parents, employers and our communities will see the fruits of this support for many years to come.”

Since 2008-09, state funding has not kept up with the rate of inflation, causing many districts to see shortfalls of $1,200 or more per student. As a result, local districts and those statewide have cut programs, student and teacher materials, and staff.

Char-Em ISD will serve as the fiduciary of the funds and will not receive any of the dollars; 100 percent of the funds will be distributed back to the local districts, Crouse emphasized.

“I know the superintendents of the local districts will look forward to sharing with the public in the months and years ahead how this additional funding is benefitting their students,” Crouse said. “It is exciting to know that our young people will have the chance to keep up with their peers and have opportunities for their futures that they may not otherwise have had. We know that this is a region where the phrase ‘Strong schools, strong communities’ is recognized and valued.”

About the 2017 Enhancement Millage

On Nov. 7, 2017, voters in each of the 11 Charlevoix-Emmet ISD public school districts will be asked to consider an Enhancement Millage proposal of 1.0 mill for 10 years. A majority of voters within the Char-Em ISD would need to approve the proposal for it to be implemented.

An Enhancement Millage is the only option for school districts to request operational funding from the public beyond funding provided by the state.

Since 2008-09, state funding has not kept up with inflation, causing districts to reduce or eliminate programs, classroom materials, and staff. If approved, each of the 11 school districts in the Char-Em ISD would receive an additional $615 per student for operations, starting with the 2018-19 school year.

For calculating a property tax increase, 1.0 mill is equal to $1 per $1,000 of a home’s taxable value. The Enhancement Millage proposal is for 1.0 mill, which means the proposal would be calculated using $1 per $1,000 taxable value. For example, a home with a market value of $200,000 has a taxable value of approximately $100,000 or less; the 1.0 Enhancement Millage would total $100 or less per year.

If the millage is approved, it would generate an estimated $5.23 million in the first year. The Char-Em ISD will serve as fiduciary of the funds, which will be distributed to each local school district for use as deemed necessary by each individual district.

The 11 public school districts in the Char-Em ISD have indicated uses of the additional revenue could include increased preschool availability, career exploration opportunities for high school students, after-school programs, increased literacy efforts, arts education, transportation, counseling, at-risk student identification and support, capital improvements, and other recommendations.

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. at your usual polling location.

If you have questions, please contact your district’s superintendent or call the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District Superintendent Jeff Crouse at (231) 547-9947.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Enhancement Millage?
In 1993, the Legislature drafted a new funding formula for public schools. Passed by voters as Proposal A in 1994, a majority of legislators feared the new funding plan would fall short of revenue needs and expectations in certain communities. To compensate for the need for additional revenues, the proposal included a provision allowing Intermediate School Districts to levy up to 3 mills for 20 years or less to be distributed on a per pupil basis to every constituent school district within that ISD.

How is the proposal placed on the ballot?
School districts within Char-Em ISD passed resolutions earlier this year asking the Char-Em ISD Board of Education to place the proposal on the Nov. 7, 2017 ballot. Public schools cannot ask voters for additional operating revenues. An ISD enhancement millage levied, collected and distributed equally to each district on a per pupil basis is the only way districts can receive additional operating revenues to meet student needs.

How much are districts seeking?
Districts asked Char-Em ISD’s Board of Education to call for an election asking voter approval of 1.0 mill for 10 years. This will provide an estimated $5,396,214 in the first year of the levy, which amounts to approximately $615 per pupil.

How will the revenue be distributed?
Although the revenue will be collected by Char-Em ISD, it is to be distributed, by law, on an equal, per pupil basis, to each of the districts within Char-Em ISD. Char-Em ISD will not receive any money or administrative expense from this millage.  

How will local schools use the funding?
The 11 public school districts in the Char-Em ISD have indicated uses of the additional revenue could include increased preschool availability, career exploration opportunities for high school students, after-school programs, increased literacy efforts, arts education, transportation, counseling, at-risk student identification and support, capital improvements, and other recommendations.

How is an enhancement millage different than a bond issue?
School districts have two primary sources of funding. Building construction, expansion and repair are generally funded through bond issues, which are levied locally for capital expenditures. Operating revenues come primarily from the state, through the “foundation grant” allocated to each district.  These state dollars include your local contribution through the 6-mill state education tax and the 18-mill non-homestead tax levy on businesses and second homes.  An enhancement millage is an additional local contribution to school operations.

When will this be put before voters?
This proposal will be on the Nov. 7, 2017, ballot.

How much will this cost the average homeowner?
The proposal calls for a levy of 1.0 mill for 10 years. The taxable value for a $200,000 home is approximately one-half of the market price, or $100,000 or less. If approved, the owner of a $200,000 home would pay an additional $100 or less per year in taxes.

What happens after 10 years?
The millage will expire and enhancement funding will end unless local boards of education again petition Char-Em ISD to seek a renewal.

Is there a homestead tax credit for senior citizens?
Yes. If passed, seniors’ tax burden may be reduced if they meet the following conditions:
You may claim a property tax credit if all of the following apply beginning in 2012:

  • Your homestead is in Michigan
  • You were a resident of Michigan for at least six months during the year
  • You own or are contracted to pay rent and occupy a Michigan homestead on which property taxes were levied
  • If you own your home, your taxable value is $135,000 or less
  • Your total household resources are $50,000 or less (Part-year residents must annualize total household resources to determine if a credit reduction applies)

Why do schools need more money?
All have seen the purchasing power of state revenue decline. A report from the House Fiscal Agency in January 2016 found school revenues, adjusted for inflation, are 6 percent less today than in 2000.

Because the purchasing power of their revenues has declined, districts have cut millions in administrative and operating expenses, but are still struggling to provide the core educational services necessary for all students to succeed.  A recent study ordered by the Michigan Legislature found every district should receive $8,667 per pupil, which is well above what most districts currently receive in state funding. That report also recommended much higher spending to compensate for the additional needs of at-risk students and English Language Learners, as these students require far greater attention and support services than most other students.

In addition, a three-year study by the Michigan State University Policy Institute, released in June 2016, found Michigan school districts face financial hardship based on factors almost entirely outside their control. Chief among those factors were inadequate state funding, declining enrollment and the increasing number of students with special needs.

What if I have more questions?
Please contact your local superintendent or contact Jeff Crouse, Char-Em ISD Superintendent, at (231) 547-9947.