Char-Em ISD special education millage renewal on the ballot May 7, 2024

Char-Em ISD special education millage renewal on the ballot May 7, 2024

Voters in Charlevoix, Emmet and northern Antrim counties will be asked to consider renewing the long-standing Char-Em ISD special education millage on May 7, 2024. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

“This millage was originally approved by voters in 1980 and has been renewed every four years since,” said Char-Em ISD Superintendent Scott Koziol. “This millage impacts the lives of thousands of students and their families in our region, from newborns to students up to age 26, including their lives beyond school. It provides critical services to students with disabilities in every school within Char-Em ISD.”

Char-Em ISD serves more than 1,330 students with special needs in 11 public school districts, two charter academies, and 5 private schools each year. Sixteen special education classrooms, including 2 early childhood classrooms, are operated in the ISD’s 2.5-county service region. 

If approved, the ballot issue would renew 1.4606 mills for four years, 2024-2027, generating approximately $10.3 million per year for special education operational funding. For a home with a market value of $100,000, it would cost the taxpayer about $75 per year.

Koziol said funding from this millage goes directly to local schools to reimburse about half of their special education expenses, as well as to Char-Em ISD-operated classrooms and the Patricia A. Taylor School for Exceptional Learners in Petoskey. It also provides specialized training for teachers, evaluation services, and highly specialized transportation for students with disabilities, along with career and college readiness preparation.

In Michigan, special education services begin at birth for a person with disabilities and are provided until the age of 26. Koziol noted that ISDs are mandated by state law to provide special education services, as well as support to local districts serving students with disabilities. 

Costs associated with providing services not covered by the millage are funded by state, federal, and other local dollars and grants. Without this voted millage, districts would need to reallocate funding from existing student programs to comply with state and federal laws that mandate the provision of special education services, Koziol said. 

Voters in the following school districts will be asked to vote on this request: Alanson, Beaver Island, Boyne City, Boyne Falls, Central Lake, Charlevoix, East Jordan, Ellsworth, Harbor Springs, Pellston, and Petoskey.

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