How a Special Education Millage Becomes a General Education Millage

by Rob Montilla on November 5, 2011

In the upcoming Special Education Operating Millage Proposal that Macomb County will vote on Tuesday, November 8, the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD) describes allocation of the $27 million per year the millage is projected to raise as follows:

“…funds from the 1.2 mill proposal would go first for special education services, which would then free up general fund money and help ALL students in EVERY district.”

Here is how this works:

  • The MISD will collect all $27 million dollars directly if the millage passes.
    • Note that these funds will initially be collected on the upcoming December 2011 property tax bill.
  • This money will “be applied first to pay unfunded balance of the costs which would otherwise be payable by each local school district to the (MISD) for certain special education center programs.” (this is from the ballot language)
  • In fact, this money will go beyond paying the unfunded balance and also go to pay the programs currently funded by the local school districts.
  • As a result, each of the local districts will see a reduction in what they have to fund the MISD in the amount of $206 per student.  This money will go to each of the local school districts’ general fund and can be used for any purpose they want.
  • As an example, the Utica Community Schools (UCS) currently pay $7 million to the MISD.  If the millage passes, the UCS will recoup between $5.5 million and $6 million.

According to Ronald Roberts, superintendent of the Chippewa Valley Schools, this arrangement has been guaranteed for three years.  After that, it is uncertain how much money the 21 school districts will get back from the millage.

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