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WBSD planning May 4 non-homestead election

WBSD planning May 4 non-homestead election

The West Bloomfield School District Board of Education unanimously approved a 2.0 mill non-homestead millage restoration proposal during their Jan. 25 regular meeting. This proposal will appear on the May 4, 2021 ballot.

The ballot proposal seeks restoration of the non-homestead tax rate that was approved by voters in 2014. Dr. Gerald Hill, WBSD superintendent, said that since the school district’s non-homestead millage was approved by voters in 2014, it has been rolled back because of reductions required by the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution. “Rollbacks mean a reduction in revenue earmarked for student instruction.  These rollbacks have shorted the school district’s operating budget by more than $1.3 million over the last six years,” Hill added.

Board of Education President, Stacy Brickman explained that restoration of the non-homestead millage is the school district’s obligation.  “Michigan law provides that schools are funded by a six-mill levy on primary residences and by an 18-mill non-homestead levy on businesses and second homes,” she added.  

The State does not help school districts restore revenue lost as a result of roll backs.  That is the local school district’s responsibility. “So, in effect, by restoring the non-homestead millage we are doing what State law requires us to do to finance our schools,” Brickman said.  “In order for the school district to receive State aid to which it is entitled, the school district has to levy 18 mills on non-homestead property.”

The ballot proposal calls for a 2.0 mill increase in the non-homestead millage rate.  This will raise the current non-homestead tax rate from its current rolled back rate of 16.9544 to 18.9544 mills.  While the school district can only levy 18 mills on non-homestead property, the millage above 18 mills will protect the school district from future rollbacks.    

Dr. Hill said that the non-homestead ballot proposal will affect the educational program of every West Bloomfield student.  “In short, we can continue moving the West Bloomfield School District forward with no change in the current tax rate for primary homeowners.”

Brickman believes that voter approval of the non-homestead ballot proposal will be a win-win for West Bloomfield’s students and the West Bloomfield community.  “I also believe a successful election will have a favorable effect on the positive reputation of the West Bloomfield community,” she added.

Dr. Hill said that the school district will be producing informational materials and making community presentations to explain the various components of the election proposals.  “We want to make sure members of our community understand that all registered voters can vote on the proposal even though the non-homestead ballot proposal only applies to businesses and second homes.  We will work diligently to address any questions members of the community may have before the vote which the Board of Education has scheduled for May 4.”

For more information, please contact Kyle Anderson, assistant superintendent for business & operations at kyle.anderson@wbsd.org or (248) 865-6434.