RESD seeks 1.5 mills on ballot

Last spring, the Boards of Education from Beaverton Rural Schools, Clare Public Schools, Farwell Area

Schools, Gladwin Community Schools, and Harrison Community Schools each voted in favor of the Clare-

Gladwin RESD including a Regional Enhancement Millage request for 1.5 mills for a period of 5 years on

the Nov. 6 ballot.

The Regional Enhancement Millage will generate approximately $2.8 million per year. If it passes, the

$2.8 million will be divided among the five local districts, based on student enrollment, to address

operational needs. Of the $2.8 million, $1.2 million will be returned to the Clare-Gladwin RESD to

support CTE program upgrades and expansion. In addition, the tuition rate paid by the local districts will

decrease from $2,300 to $500 per student.

The average homeowner will invest approximately $52.50 per year, or about $4.38 per month, based on

a home valued at $70,000 with a taxable value of $35,000.

For the local districts, the need for additional funding is due to the decrease in revenues from the state

over the past several years, coupled with increased operating costs. As a result, multiple staff reductions

in the local schools have led to increased class sizes and the elimination of elective classes offered to

students.

The need for additional funding for the CTE program became apparent in 2009 and 2010, when a

Strategic Planning Committee consisting of community members, local business and industry folks, and

educators, compared the Clare-Gladwin CTE program to other career and technical education programs

in rural mid-Michigan areas with similar populations as Clare and Gladwin counties.

“It became crystal clear that our students were at a disadvantage to the students who attended

neighboring CTE programs,” said Clare-Gladwin RESD Superintendent Sheryl Presler. “The CTE staff

works diligently to maximize resources to help the students learn while gaining hands-on experience in

their field of interest. However, with our current CTE budget, we are unable to provide our students

with what they need to compete with students in other Michigan CTE programs, including access to

state-of-the-industry equipment, the opportunity to earn additional academic credits through their CTE

class, and more program options to choose from to better match their interests.”

By law, an intermediate school district, such as the RESD, cannot directly keep the funds generated by

the millage. Therefore, the revenue from the enhancement millage will be distributed in full to each

local school district based on the most recent student count. The RESD will then enter a contract with

each local district allocating a portion of the revenue to be used for CTE.

In each subsequent year of the millage, the local districts will receive a greater portion of the revenue

generated, while the CTE tuition cost will also increase. This arrangement will prevent a funding cliff for

the local districts when the millage expires following the 2016-2017 school year.

Although only three of the five local boards of education from each district were required to adopt a

resolution for the proposal to be placed on the ballot this fall, the local superintendents agreed the

proposal would not be included unless all five local districts approved.