Mackinac Center $350,000 Offer Still Stands
On Monday, voters in the Redford Union School District defeated a 2-mill sinking fund property tax proposal for school building maintenance and upgrades. Apparently, Redford Union taxpayers don't intend to support higher taxes for school expenses until the district proves it is spending their money wisely.
And no wonder. The district has a well-publicized reputation for not doing so.
Last year, when Redford Union was facing $1.3 million budget deficit, school officials announced they would be forced to make drastic cuts in expenses, including teacher layoffs, to make ends meet. If that weren't bad enough, school officials then refused an offer that would have brought at least $350,000 in savings-and probably more-to the district's coffers.
In a letter to then-Superintendent Thomas Gay, Mackinac Center for Public Policy Senior Vice President Joseph Overton stated that the district could save well over $350,000 by outsourcing non-instructional services to private firms. If an outsourcing plan failed to yield the needed savings while maintaining or improving current service quality, the Mackinac Center would pay Redford Schools the difference, up to $350,000.
Redford Union officials chose not to accept the offer, which would have meant breaking ranks with the powerful Michigan Education Association, which consistently opposes outsourcing.
It remains to be seen what district officials will do in response to the failed sinking fund. But officials at the Mackinac Center say the offer to Redford Union still stands.
Detroit News, "Redford Union, Flat Rock, Huron reject school tax hikes," June 11, 2002
Michigan Education Report, "Redford could keep teachers," Spring 2001