Ballot Proposals for May 8, 2018
Several communities in Washtenaw County will have proposals on the May 8, 2018 ballot. Voters in the Ann Arbor Public Schools district will be weighing in on a replacement millage for the district's main operating tax. See below for details!
Click here for information about proposals in Sharon Township (bond to build a high-speed Internet network) and Ypsilanti Township (tax for fire department equipment). In addition, Ypsilanti Township voters will be electing one park commissioner for a partial term – click here for a list of candidates.
ANN ARBOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS BALLOT PROPOSAL:
Operating Millage Replacement
On Tuesday, May 8, residents in the Ann Arbor Public Schools district will vote on a tax proposal to replace the district's "non-homestead" operating tax – that is, a tax on commercial, industrial and rental property, vacant land and second homes. It is NOT a tax on primary residences. This operating millage is the main source of revenue for the district. (Click here to learn more about the AAPS budget.)
The request is for a 20-year, 21-mill tax – even though by law, AAPS won't be able to levy more than 18 mills. The extra "buffer" will allow the district to maintain a steady 18-mill tax despite Headlee rollbacks. (If you're ready to drill down, check out this explainer on Headlee rollbacks, courtesy of the Michigan Municipal League.) At 18 mills, someone who owns property with a taxable value of $100,000 would pay $1,800 each year for this tax.
If approved, the tax would raise about $84.7 million in its first year. The current operating millage expires in 2019.
The millage proceeds will be used to pay for day-to-day operations, including staff salaries. Click here for an FAQ from the district with more information. This one-sheet handout, provided to the AAPS board in late 2017, provides additional details. The AAPS has posted other online resources here.
The Ann Arbor Citizens Millage Committee supports the tax proposal. Steve Norton is treasurer – click here to get campaign finance information about this group. No committee opposing the millage has officially formed, based on county campaign finance filings.
Here's exactly what you'll see on the ballot:
PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE CITY OF ANN ARBOR
REPLACEMENT OPERATING MILLAGE PROPOSAL
This proposal would restore, replace and extend the authority of the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor to levy up to 18.00 mills for general school district operating purposes on taxable property in the School District to the extent that such property is not exempt from such levy and would restrict the levy on principal residences (owner occupied homes) to no more than 12.3777 mills. If approved, this proposal would restore the authority of the School District to levy the statutory limit of 18.00 mills on non-homestead (principally industrial and commercial real property and residential rental property) which currently expires with the School District’s 2019 tax levy and allow the district to continue to levy the statutory limit of 18 mills on non homestead property in the event of future Headlee rollbacks of up to 3 mills. Under existing law the School District would levy on principal residence property only that portion of the mills (in 2017 4.3564 mills) necessary to allow the School District to receive the full revenue per pupil foundation allowance permitted by the State.
Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor, County of Washtenaw, Michigan, be increased to 21 mills ($21.00 per $1,000 of taxable value), with 18 mills being the maximum allowable levy ($18.00 per $1,000 of taxable value), to the extent such property is not statutorily exempt, and of which not more than 12.3777 mills may be imposed on principal residences, for twenty (20) years, the years 2018 to 2037, inclusive, to provide funds for operating expenses of the school district? This millage would raise approximately $84,779,572 in the first year of levy.
In the News: Ann Arbor Public Schools Operating Millage
Ann Arbor Schools wants 18 mills for 20 years on non-homestead property – MLive, Jan. 18, 2018
Ann Arbor Schools may seek increase of non-homestead operating millage – MLive, Dec. 7, 2017
The Ann Arbor Public Schools district serves the city of Ann Arbor and parts of eight surrounding townships – Ann Arbor, Pittsfield, Lodi, Northfield, Salem, Scio, Superior and Webster. The district enrolls about 17,000 students, operates 19 elementary schools, 2 K-8 schools, 5 middle schools, 5 high schools, 1 standalone preschool, 1 virtual school and 1 adult education program. It is the 5th largest school district in Michigan with an annual budget of about $215 million and a staff of about 1,500 full-time employees, including about 1,100 teachers.
The 7-member AAPS Board of Education is responsible for approving the budget, setting policy, and hiring/overseeing the district’s superintendent. The current superintendent is Jeanice Swift. The board voted to put the operating replacement millage on the ballot at their Jan. 17, 2018 meeting.
AAPS Trustees are (click here for contact info):
Christine Stead, president
Susan Baskett, vice president
Jeff Gaynor, secretary
Harmony Mitchell, treasurer:
Simone Lightfoot, parliamentarian
IMPORTANT NOTE: To vote on May 8, you must be registered by Monday, April 9. Click here to check your registration status.