MARQUETTE - A special education millage designed to compensate for funding decreases due to Headlee Amendment rollbacks passed Tuesday by an unofficials vote count of 12,196 to 11,655 with all Marquette and Alger county precincts reporting this morning.
The millage passed in Marquette County by a 10,461 to 9,748 vote, while losing by a margin of 1,735 "yes"?to 1,907 "no" votes in Alger County.
The millage, which was sponsored by the Marquette-Alger Regional Education Service Agency, asked for .5 mills over a period of 20 years with only the amount needed to reach 2 mills to be assessed. The money will make up for a rollback to the current special education millage from 2 mills to 1.75 mills that has resulted in a loss of $579,000 in tax revenue for 2010-2011.
"Obviously we're very happy with the results," MARESA superintendent Steve Peffers said. "On behalf of our 13 local school districts, we'd like to thank the citizens for their support. These funds that we'll collect now will go back to the local districts for much needed support in special education services."
In May of this year, a similar millage asking for .75 was defeated. Peffers said that it was a matter of informing people about the specifics of the millage that made the difference this time.
"I think we did a much better job getting information out to the people. We tried really hard to explain exactly what it was going to cost people, what the funds were going to be used for and that 100 percent of the funds were going to go back to the local districts," he said.
Property owners can expect to see a change in their bill when winter property taxes are assessed.
Claire Abent can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.