2018-03-08 / News

Voters to help fund future school financing

Grand Blanc Community Schools plans for continued innovation

GRAND BLANC — May 8 will have residents in the Grand Blanc school boundaries voting for A three-year renewal of the Non-Homestead property taxes paid by businesses in the area and used to help maintain school operations.

Grand Blanc Community Schools is planning ahead with a forward-thinking approach to securing funding comfortably into the future through “The Future is Now” campaign. GBCS will go to voters with a series of ballot initiatives over the next 3 years that they believe will keep the school district financially sound without increasing tax burden on the community.

The first ballot initiative will be a Non- Homestead Property Tax Renewal of 18 mills—which is not paid by homeowners but businesses and other non-homestead properties. The vote will occur on May 8.

This 18 mills is required under school funding law, Proposal A, to accompany State of Michigan funding for basic operational expenses such as teacher salaries, transportation, supplies, and custodial services.

It is a critical part of the GBCS funding, making up over 10 percent of the General Fund revenue, or the equivalent of over $1000 per student. There is no other source of funds to replace this crucial millage, were it to be turned down by voters.

The Grand Blanc Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the renewal, recognizing the importance of great schools to the local economy. The state requires this portion of funding to come from local millage approval. The school emphasizes this millage only applies to non-homestead property (commercial, industrial, etc.) and not to primary residences. It doesn't apply to the home your family lives in or even secondary homes outside Grand Blanc Community School district’s boundaries.

Additionally, this voting ballot will contain language asking for another ½ mill – a safety net that will only be used to keep funding at 18 mills, if approved. The Headlee Reduction allows for school millage rates to be “rolled back” if property values increase at a rate higher than the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

If this Headlee Reduction were to become a factor in the future, this extra half mill, or a fraction of it, would be used to restore the full 18 mills of funding, no more and no less. A Headlee Reduction has taken place in the past. This action simply keeps the school from losing funds or having to approach voters again at a later date to request the replacement funding to restore what the Headlee Reduction took away.

The second ballot initiative, the Sinking Fund Renewal, is planned for the 2019 ballot, and will again, not raise taxes. It is a renewal of the current mill used for “capital improvements”. Capital improvements are building repairs and renovations or new construction projects. In the past, sinking fund dollars have paid for new roofs, repaved parking lots, updated electrical systems, and small renovation projects like the new Technology Department at Perry Innovation Center. Funds from this millage cannot be used for primary operational expenses such as salaries, benefits or school supplies.

The third and final ballot proposal will be a “Zero Increase Bond Proposal” in 2020. It would cause no actual increase in taxation, but benefit students immensely. The proposal is a request to continue levying 6.30 mills for our bonded debt.

This is the most exciting piece for the community, because it would allow Grand Blanc Community Schools to make meaningful safety changes, reequip and redesign our schools to meet the ever-changing demands of the 21st century and do necessary facility and maintenance updates like repaving Jewett Trail and keeping technology up-to-date. This would not increase the current tax rate either but renew it.

This would, in short, put a budget on the table to plan for the future, a future the administration hopes to build together with a new Strategic Plan in the works and crucial support from the Grand Blanc community; businesses, citizens, families, students and staff. Residents with questions can contact the school at 810-591-6000. — P.S.

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