Quality Schools Quality Communities

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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.


Quality schools attract quality teachers who provide top-notch education for our students and prepare them to be our future workforce. Quality schools also attract new industries and positively impact economic development.

On Tuesday, November 6th, you have an opportunity to vote on the Quality Schools, Quality Communities ballot proposal for the school districts within Ottawa Area ISD. State funding has made it difficult for school districts to maintain and expand programming for our students. As funding fails to keep pace with inflation and students’ needs, school districts are dealing with a funding gap that will impact student programming. To better serve students, school districts asked Ottawa Area ISD to place the Quality Schools Quality Communities proposal on the November 6 ballot. If approved, schools plan to use these funds to preserve and expand programming, ensure student safety, and create greater connections to college and the world of work for students.

The proposal is for 0.9 mills for 10 years and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $3.75 per month or $45 per year. It would provide $226 per pupil giving school districts a locally generated and reliable source of revenue to expand efforts to ensure student safety, to attract and retain the best teachers, to provide assistance for students with greater needs, and for programs that create greater connections to college and careers for students. 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.

*Sources: 

  1. Talent 2025
  2. Mlive
  3. Ottawa County 

 

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.

Powerpoint DocumentInformational PPT

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?

Voter Information

Ottawa County Polling Locations

Ottawa County Absentee Ballot Application and Current Election Information

Ottawa County Election Results

Allegan County Polling Locations

Michigan Election and Voter Information

Michigan Absentee Voting

Ballot Language:

Ottawa Area Intermediate School District Regional Enhancement Millage Proposal

Pursuant to state law, the revenue raised by the proposed millage will be collected by the intermediate school district and distributed to the constituent districts based on pupil membership count. 

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, Michigan, be increased by 0.9 mill ($0.9 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 10 years, 2019 to 2028, inclusive, to provide operating funds to enhance other state and local funding for local school district operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the intermediate school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2019 is approximately $11,200,000, which funds will be disbursed as required by statute to: Allendale Public Schools, Coopersville Area Public Schools, Grand Haven Area Public Schools, Hamilton Community Schools, School District of the City of Holland, Hudsonville Public Schools, Jenison Public Schools, Saugatuck Public Schools, Spring Lake Public Schools, West Ottawa Public Schools, Zeeland Public Schools, Black River Public School, Eagle Crest Charter Academy, ICademy Global, Innocademy, Vanderbilt Charter Academy, Walden Green Montessori, West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics, and Ottawa Area Intermediate School District?
 

Watch Our Schools in Action

Check out a few videos showcasing some of the amazing things already happening in Ottawa area schools.

To see more videos and stories from schools around the Ottawa area, visit DoingMoreTogether.org

 

Challenging More. Allendale

 

Competing More. Grand Haven

 

Preparing More. Ottawa Area IChallengeU

 

Succeeding More. Hamilton