By David Fleet
Goodrich-On Nov. 2, voters in the Goodrich School District will head to the polls to decide on a renewal of the schools operating millage.
If approved, the proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate not exceeding 18 mills on all property, except principal residences and other property exempted by law. The proposal is for five years, from 2023-2027. The current levy which will expire in 2022, will collect about $1,500,000 for the district..
“This is a non-homestead renewal and does not raise any taxes,” said Wayne Wright, district superintendent. “The 18 mills are put on only those residents of the school district with second homes, such as a vacation home or rental. Businesses are also included. Farmland and a primary home is exempt from the 18 mills.”
Currently, the district students are funded by a foundation grant of $8,700. The non-homestead is part of the grant and the state funds the remaining amount of the $8,700.
“By far the greatest amount of money we get is from the state,” he said. “The operating millage very critical to the students of this district.”
The district is asking for 20.128 mills, but can only charge 18 mills. The reason is that if Headlee hits and the millage rate drops down the result would be less than 18 mills, thus shorting the district’s funding.
Headlee requires a local unit of government to reduce its millage when annual growth on existing property is greater than the rate of inflation.
Currently, the school district has a budget of $21 million—with a fund balance of about 18 percent. The district ended the 2020-21 fiscal year with a general fund balance of $3,781,456 up from $2,593,476 a 45 percent increase from the 2019-20 fiscal year. Some of the additional funds were from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund), the Michigan Department of Education provides local schools with emergency relief funds to address the impact of the pandemic.
“That’s where a district should be,” said Wright. “Between 15 and 20 percent of fund equity.”
The board of trustees had revenues budgeted of $22.14 million and actual was $22.05 million a variance of $96,000 under budget. Similarly, the board budgeted expenditures of $21.18 million and actual was $20.86 million a variance of $316,000 under budget.