Quality Schools Quality Communities
Quality Schools Help Make Quality Communities
Quality schools are an essential part of our quality of life in West Michigan making our communities a great place to live, raise a family or start a business.
On behalf of the Ottawa Area ISD Board of Education and staff and all of our member public school systems, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to community members for approving funding requests for public schools throughout our region that will benefit our students for years to come.
We are pleased area residents recognize the important work our schools are doing to prepare students for future success and develop their full human potential. It has become common practice for schools throughout our region to collaborate for the greater good of our students and families, and this is just one more example of the cooperative culture that exists in the Ottawa area.
The enhancement millage funds will give public schools a locally generated and reliable source of revenue to expand efforts to ensure student safety, to provide assistance for students with greater mental/emotional health needs, and for programs that create greater connections to college and careers for students. This is especially important since state funding that has not kept pace with inflation.
The Ottawa County Tax Limitation proposal, which was also passed by voters, could provide our district with an increase of approximately $178,000 in the first year. If the OAISD Board of Education chooses to levy this increase in available millage, these funds would help us maintain existing programs and services, reducing our need to deficit spend in order to balance the budget.
Thank you again for your vote of confidence.
Sincerely, Pete Haines, Superintendent
Quality schools attract quality teachers, new industries and positively impact economic development.
Schools in our region share a mutual commitment to providing students with the resources and skills they need to be successful in the future. With strong school systems, students and their families, businesses, and the greater community are more likely to experience an enhanced quality of life.
- The millage is needed to preserve and expand high-quality programs and services.
- The millage is needed to preserve and expand efforts to ensure student safety.
- The millage is needed to create greater connections to college and the world of work for students.
What every taxpayer should know
- By law, funds will be collected by Ottawa Area ISD and distributed on an equal per-pupil basis to each of the local K-12 public school districts and public school academies. Ottawa Area ISD will only receive a small portion (less than 1 percent) for students attending general fund eligible programs.
- All millage dollars will be publicly reported on each district’s website and an independent audit will be conducted to ensure transparency and accountability.
- The proposal of 0.9 mill will cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $3.75 per month.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Why are Ottawa Area school leaders asking for the funds?
Leaders of the eleven K-12 Ottawa Area school districts felt the need for new revenues was significant enough to go to the voters. All have seen the purchasing power of state revenue decline. A report from the House Fiscal Agency in August 2017 found school revenues, adjusted for inflation, are almost eleven percent less today than in 2000.
Because revenues have declined, Ottawa Area 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 conducted by the School Finance Research Collaborative recommended that every district receive base funding of $9,590 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 is an enhancement millage?
When the legislature drafted a new funding formula for public schools, passed by voters as Proposal A in 1994, concerns existed that, over time, the new funding plan could fall short of revenue needs and expectations in certain communities. To compensate for the potential need for additional revenues, Proposal A included a provision allowing Intermediate School Districts, or ISDs, with voter approval, to levy up to 3 mills for 20 years or less, to be distributed 100 percent on a per-pupil basis to every constituent K-12 school district and public school academy within that ISD.
Has this type of election been successful anywhere else?
Yes, both Muskegon Area Intermediate School District and Kent Intermediate School District have held successful regional enhancement millage elections. In total, six regional millage elections have successfully passed in Michigan.
How is the enhancement millage proposal placed on the ballot?
A number of school boards within Ottawa Area ISD (representing a simple majority of students), have passed resolutions asking the Ottawa Area ISD board to place the proposal on the ballot. Law prohibits local districts from independently asking its voters for additional operating revenue.
Which election will the ballot question appear on?
The November 6, 2018, general election ballot.
What is the duration of the proposed millage?
The duration is 10 years after which the millage will expire and enhancement funding will end unless local boards of education again petition the Ottawa Area ISD to seek a renewal on behalf of local school districts and public school academies.
How much revenue would be generated by 0.9 mills?
Approximately $11.2 million, or $226 per pupil, will be generated in the first year of the millage, however school districts will not begin receiving proceeds until after the first tax collection in 2019.
How much will this cost the average homeowner?
The proposal calls for a levy of 0.9 mills for 10 years. The state equalized taxable value for a $100,000 home is one-half the market price, or $50,000. If approved, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay an additional $3.75 per month, or $45 per year.
What can the proceeds from the millage be used for?
Any operational expense of a school district or public school academy, however, priorities may vary in terms of how the money will be spent.
How is an enhancement millage approved?
An ISD-wide (all taxing jurisdictions in Ottawa and part of Allegan) millage request must be passed by a majority of voters.
How is an enhancement millage different from a bond issue?
An enhancement millage is an additional local contribution to school operations that would support programs and services for students. A bond issue is a mechanism for individual school districts to raise capital funds for technology hardware, facility improvements (such as roofs and parking lots) and equipment replacement (such as boilers and water heaters).
How will the funds be distributed?
By law, funds will be collected by Ottawa Area ISD and distributed on an equal per-pupil basis to each of the local K-12 public school districts and public school academies. Ottawa Area ISD will only receive a small portion (less than 1 percent) for students attending general fund eligible programs. If approved, all millage dollars will be publicly reported on each school district’s website and an independent audit will be conducted to ensure transparency and accountability.
How do I get information about how my school district/PSA will be using the funds?
You can visit your district’s website or contact your superintendent. The following schools/districts will receive millage funds:
Public K-12 School Districts
Allendale Public Schools
Coopersville Area Public Schools
Grand Haven Public Schools
Hamilton Community Schools
Holland Public Schools
Hudsonville Public Schools
Jenison Public Schools
Saugatuck Public Schools
Spring Lake Public Schools
West Ottawa Public Schools
Zeeland Public Schools
Public School Academies
Watch Our Schools in Action
Check out a few videos showcasing some of the amazing things already happening in Ottawa area schools.
Challenging More. Allendale
Competing More. Grand Haven
Preparing More. Ottawa Area IChallengeU
Succeeding More. Hamilton