School election – Mid Peninsula

PERKINS – Voters in the Mid Peninsula School District will be asked Tuesday to decide on a millage renewal of 18 mills. The ballot question failed to pass last November and represents about $837,000 a year for school operations.

“We need this money to keep the doors open. This is a must have for schools,” said Mid Peninsula Superintendent Mary Brayak on Friday. Gladstone is also seeking the same renewal for nine years. (See related story.)

“This is not a new request. It comes about every 20 years for our school. It’s nothing but a renewal,” she explained, adding the millage is not a tax on homestead property such as principal residences. It’s a tax on businesses, camps, vacant property, and other non-homestead property.

Voters from Baldwin, Ewing, Maple Ridge, and Turin townships – which make up the 300-square-mile school district – will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on Tuesday’s operating milage proposal.

The 18 mills represents $18 in taxes on each $1,000 of taxable valuation for 20 years from 2014 to 2033. The tax exclusively provides funds for the district’s operating expenses. The millage rate has been in place for the past 20 years and expires after the 2013 tax levy if not approved.

According to the ballot language, “the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2014 is approximately $837,369.”

These funds make up a large part of Mid Peninsula’s $1.9 million annual budget, said Brayak.

The superintendent also noted the approval of the operating millage is a requirement for the district to receive the state’s per pupil foundation allowance which is currently $6,848 a student. There are 250 youths enrolled at the K-12 school.

If the millage proposal fails to pass in the district on Tuesday, the board decided at its last meeting to seek another election in May, said Brayak.

School officials will continue to seek the millage renewal because without the tax, the loss of operating monies and the loss of per pupil funding would be “devastating to the district,” she said. If the proposal never passes, the district will not stay open, she added.

While sympathizing with taxpayers during current tough economic times, Brayak encouraged voters to support the school and public education. She reminded voters the operating millage is not an additional tax but a rate which non-homestead properties have been assessed for the past 20 years.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,