by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The Shiawassee Regional Education Service District Special Education Headlee Restoration Millage Proposal will be on the Tuesday, Aug. 7 election ballot for Shiawassee County voters. The passage of the ballot proposal is essential in ensuring that the special education services for all local school district students are maintained for the next 20 years. The last restoration request was in 2002.
If the proposal were to fail, the school districts of Byron, Corunna, Durand, Laingsburg, Morrice, New Lothrop, Owosso and Perry would have to come up with a collective $1.4 million in additional funding – outside of their 2018-2019 budgets – to support special education programs for the upcoming school year. That would increase the amount of local General Fund dollars local districts must allocate to special education in order to cover the shortfall caused by insufficient federal and state funding, which could lead to larger class sizes countywide.
Since 1958, Shiawassee County voters have periodically authorized millages to fund special education services. Since then, those previously approved millages have been reduced by what is known as the Headlee Amendment. Restoration to the original millage levels previously set by voters would effectively impact funding for the education of all students in Shiawassee County.
The millage, if approved on Aug. 7, would fund special education services for all local districts; would restore the 0.5882-mill levy, which is the amount rolled back from the previously authorized 4.2330 special education mills; and would generate approximately $1,143,051 per year.
The median value of homes in Shiawassee County is $105,500, with a taxable value of $52,750. Based on those figures, the cost of the restoration to the average taxpayer would be $31.02 per year.
“This funding supports services to nearly 2,000 students across the RESD,” shared Shiawassee RESD Superintendent Dave Schulte. “These services include a wide range of therapists, teachers, support services and transportation for children from birth through age 26.”
Durand Area Schools Superintendent Craig McCrumb added, “The county superintendents are paying close attention to this millage vote. We all are in tune with the potential increased costs to our districts.”