Mixed results for millages


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Voters on Tuesday passed the special education millage proposal by the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency by a vote of 7,055 to 5,684.

The proposal asked for an increase in the special education levy previously approved by voters. On the ballot was a request to approve an increase in the levy for students with disabilities by 1.5 mills, which is $1.50 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation, for 20 years.

In Alger County, though, the vote was 797 against the millage proposal and 699 in favor of it.

It is estimated that Marquette-Alger RESA will collect approximately $4.766 million from local property taxes.

Marquette-Alger RESA Greg Nyen issued a statement following the election.

“We asked the community members to tell us what the priority is. I am proud that the majority of voters in our community chose education as a priority.

“While the funds from this millage increase are earmarked for special education costs, we expect that the entire school community will benefit. School districts will no longer be forced to use so much of their general operating budgets to cover special education costs. The general fund dollars that will be freed up as a result can be used for improved learning environments, extracurriculars, facility improvements and other priorities identified at the local district level.”

Local school districts will begin to see the positive impact of this funding as soon as next school year, Marquette-Alger RESA CFO Anthony Bertucci said. “Marquette-Alger RESA put this millage on the ballot on behalf of the local school districts,” Bertucci said in a statement. “We serve as the fiduciary for the tax dollars collected, and we will be distributing all of the funds to support the educational costs for students with disabilities in our local school districts.”

Nyen called the election result “a huge win for the students and staff” in local districts.

“I believe that strong schools are the cornerstones of strong communities,” Nyen said. “The results of this election signal to me that our communities are making the choice to invest in their future and become stronger together.”

Voters in the NICE Community Schools district on Tuesday approved the district continuing to levy the statutory rate of 18.4146 mills on all property, except a principal residence and other property exempted by law. This was required for the school district to receive its full revenue per-pupil and foundation allowance and would renew the millage that will expire with the 2023 levy.

The levy will be for 10 years and is expected to bring in approximately $2.32 million.

“We are very appreciative of our community’s support for our school district. Investing in our kids makes our community stronger,” NICE Community Schools Superintendent Bryan DeAugustine said in an email. “We’d like to thank everyone who voted in this election cycle.”

Voters in the Munising Public Schools district, however, on Tuesday turned down a request to approve a levy increase of 1.9 mills for 10 years, with 456 voters voting against the increase and 433 voting in favor of it. The levy would have created a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings, school security improvements, acquiring or upgrading technology, and other purposes authorized by law.

It was estimated that the school district would have received revenue of approximately $401,605.

“We are disappointed with the outcome but we are not discouraged or disuaded,” said MPS Superintendent Mike Travis said, who noted that the weather and snowstorm impacted turnout at the polls.

He called the election “a learning experience,” with the game plan to work with the MPS Board of Education on further efforts and determine the biggest concerns among the residents who voted against the levy increase.

“It was close enough that people see the need,” Travis said.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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