Clare County to vote on CTE millage Tuesday

April 29, 2016

By Pat Maurer

Next Tuesday’s election in Clare County will have only the ten-year, one mill Clare-Gladwin Regional Education School District (RESD) CTE (Career and Technical Education) millage on the ballot, while Winterfield Township voters in the Marion School District will vote yea or nay on a Marion Public Schools $2.7 million bonding proposal for technology, furnishing and equipment for facilities, improving athletic facilities, the purchase of school busses and site improvement.

The Clare-Gladwin RESD is asking voters to say yes to the one-mill proposal, which will fund CTE (vocational training and skilled trade) programs, many that have been reduced or eliminated because of budget constraints.

“In the past eight years, 2,720 juniors and seniors from high schools in Harrison, Gladwin, Clare, Farwell and Beaverton have received valuable college and career preparation training through CTE…,” said RESD Superintendent Sheryl Presler in a recent letter to the editor. She said the current CTE programs offer “Construction Trades, Culinary Arts, Criminal Justice, Automotive Technology, Digital Media, Health Occupations and Education Occupations,” although she noted, “Before the budget concerns forced their suspension, we also offered a host of in-demand programs, including Welding, Graphic Design, Pre-Engineering, ROTC and others.”

The Clare-Gladwin RESD does not have a dedicated millage for CTE, although neighboring districts including Bay-Arenac, Gratiot Isabella, Mecosta-Osceola and Wexford-Missaukee do, raising from $2.57 million to $6.3 million annually for their programs.  “Our kids in Clare and Gladwin Counties receive zero,” Presler wrote, “and while our instructors do an excellent job with the hand they’ve been dealt, those numbers represent a significant disadvantage for our kids, as well as for our local economy, which benefits greatly from the CTE program.”

If voters approve it, the millage would raise approximately $1,867,500 with the 2016 taxes, and allow reinstatement of the programs that have been eliminated, (welding as soon as September) and a modest pole-type building for the Construction Trades program.

In the April 15 issue, Sarah Kyle wrote, “One sure way to enhance the landscape of our community is to offer our children the opportunity to earn a decent living at a good job.”

Last week, State Representative Joel Johnson wrote in another letter, “The Clare-Gladwin RESD has done a good job serving our youth in several … areas, but they have been severely limited by the funds available.” He said, I believe Career and Technical Education is very important for our youth and employers.”

Sue Murawski wrote, “The majority of the jobs in today’s world do not require a college degree. But they do require training and that’s what Career Tech classes provide.”

Opponents argue that the May 3 date is a special election, costly, will add another mill to the two mills already on taxpayer’s bills for the RESD. Voters were urged to “Vote your conscience – and your pocket book,” according to a letter to the editor from Clare resident Al Demarest.

Some voters in the May 3 school election will be casting their ballots in a different polling place.
The townships of Arthur, Garfield, Surrey, Franklin, Grant, Redding, Lincoln, Hamilton and Winterfield (in the Marion School District only) will each vote at their own township hall.

Freeman Township voters will vote at the Lincoln Township Hall.
Voters from Frost, Greenwood, Hatton (in the Harrison School District only), Summerfield, Winterfield (in the Harrison School District), the City of Harrison and Hayes Township will all vote at the Hayes Municipal Complex on Townline Road in Harrison.

Hatton Township voters (in the Clare School District), Sheridan Township and the City of Clare will be voting at the Pere’ Marquette District Library in Clare.

The ballot proposal reads:
“Shall Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District, Michigan come under sections 681 to 690 of the Revised School Code, as amended, and establish an area career and technical education program, which is designed to encourage the operation of area career and technical education programs, if the annual property tax levied for this purpose is limited to 1 mill ($1.000 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 10 years, 2016 to 2015, inclusive’ the estimate of the revenue the intermediate school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2016 is approximately $1,867,500 from local property taxes authorized herein?”

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One Response to Clare County to vote on CTE millage Tuesday

  1. David Powell Reply

    April 30, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    I for one am going to vote yes on this proposal. I have always felt that the school systems are not really preparing our youth for any kind of real life experiences. Some will go on to get higher learning but not everyone is a book smart person. Those of us that have other leanings need to know that there are going to be choices. So I do hope that enough people will think along the same lines and pass the millage to give those people a chance to shine as well.

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