Washtenaw Intermediate School District board votes to place enhancement millage on ballot
Local voters will get a chance to vote on approving extra money for traditional school districts when they head to the polls in November.
The Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s school board formally voted Tuesday morning to place a 2-mill enhancement millage on the November ballot.
The WISD’s action followed each of the county’s 10 traditional school districts’ school boards passing resolutions asking the WISD board to take this action.
If approved by voters, the 2-mill tax would raise about $30 million each year for the next five years for the school districts.
The money would be split among the districts based on enrollment, not on how much each district raised in tax revenue, WISD officials said.
The Ann Arbor school district, the county’s largest district, would receive the most, more than $11 million per year.
Not included on the list of those getting the money would be the county’s charter schools, which have about 3,500 students.
Tom Bower, a Lodi Township resident and an instructor at theWashtenaw Technical Middle College - a charter school - raised concerns about that during Tuesday morning’s meeting.
“Is it a requirement of state law (not to give the money to charter schools) or is it a choice of the WISD not to include (charter schools)?”
Bower argued that because charter schools are public schools, funded by the state’s per-pupil grant like traditional school districts, they should also get the money.
Bill Miller, the WISD’s superintendent, said state law lays out exactly how the WISD has to pay out the funds.
“It’s not a local decision,” Miller said. “Our attorneys tell us we’re not allowed to distribute (the money to charter schools).”
“It’s in the best interest of our children, our schools and our communities to place this issue on the ballot,” WISD Board President Mark Van Bogelen said. “Strong schools build strong communities by attracting good jobs. This millage will help keep our schools strong.”