East Grand Rapids school bond proposal would help pay for after-school programming like sports activities, drama
EAST GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A school bond proposal coming November 2, 2021 will help East Grand Rapids Public Schools run after-school programs such as clubs, theater programs, youth and school-based athletics, and more.
The proposal is to renew – and slightly increase – the school district’s current leisure mill, which has been in place since 2004, according to the district’s website. This 20-year millage is slated to expire in 2023, and the new proposed millage would come into effect the following year.
The new proposal envisages raising 1.5 mills for 20 years, from 2024 to 2043. It would raise about $ 1.25 million in the first year and fund basic operating expenses like custodians, maintenance, and utilities to support after-school programs.
This proposal is slightly higher than the district’s 2004 recreational millage, which wanted to charge 1.4 mills, or $ 1.40 per $ 1,000 of taxable value.
The district is calling for a higher millage to offset the millage rate cuts expected over the next few years due to headlee rollbacks, school officials said. Since 2004, headlee rollbacks have reduced the district’s 1.4 million surcharge to 1.1803 million, according to the district website.
For a home with a market value of $ 400,000 and a taxable value of $ 200,000, that new millage would equal about $ 300 in taxes each year, which is $ 64 more according to calculations on the district’s website, as a homeowner pay under the current millage.
The proposed millage wouldn’t start until 2024 if approved, but the district is requesting the proposal now so school officials can conduct long-term strategic planning.
The Recreational Millage helps the district pay operating costs such as maintenance and depots, but does not fund a curriculum for the after-school program.
Funding operating costs through a tax payment will allow the district to save other income for capital improvements to existing facilities, school officials said.
This could include, for example, upgrading the lighting, sound and security systems of the Performing Arts Center and creating outdoor group rooms at Breton Downs, Lakeside and Wealthy elementary schools, according to the website.
It also preserves school funding for tuition, the district said.
According to figures on the district’s website, the district received a total of $ 7,425,491 in revenue from the Millage recreational tax from 2012 to 2021.
Fifty-nine percent of that fund, or $ 4.3 million, went to the custodian’s wages and benefits. About 15%, or $ 1 million, was paid for utilities; Paid 11% or $ 839,000 in community pool charges; about 10%, or $ 729,000, went towards maintaining fields and land; and 5% or $ 373,000 funded salary and benefits for the Center for the Performing Arts Manager.
The school loan proposal is completely separate and unique from a city loan proposal that will also appear on the November 2nd vote, school officials said.
The city of East Grand Rapids is urging taxpayers to consider a 20-year millage of approximately 0.5624 mills, which would fund numerous park improvements, including the construction of the city’s first dog park.
RELATED: East Grand Rapids voters will vote on 20-year-old Parks Millage in the November 2nd election
The school district is hosting several informational presentations this month so the community can learn more about the mill and ask questions. Here are the dates and times for the presentations:
- Tuesday, October 12th at 7:30 p.m. – Lakeside Elementary PTO Meeting, 2325 Hall St.
- Wednesday October 13th at 3pm – Virtual presentation of the community
- Thursday, October 14th at 9 a.m. – High School PTO Meeting, 2211 Lake Dr.
- Monday, Oct 25 at 9 a.m. – Middle School PTO Meeting, 2425 Lake Dr.
The district encourages anyone with questions and unable to attend the presentations to contact Anthony Morey, assistant superintendent of finance and operations. He can be reached by phone at 616-235-3535 or by email at [email protected]
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