ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Voters in Washtenaw County turned down a new school tax on Tuesday, an outcome which will force area districts to find ways to spend less, an education administrator told AnnArbor.com.
Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Bill Miller said that he expects some of the 10 local districts in the county to discuss consolidation as a cost-saving plan, but also to request employee concessions and to approve layoffs or program cuts in order to bring spending in line with revenue, the report said.
Voters rejected a 2-mill enhancement millage request that would have required them to pay about $30 million in new tax revenue for distribution among the districts, according to AnnArbor.com.
Miller said consolidation can be "difficult and unappealing" due to differences in debt, employee contracts and per-pupil revenue between the merging districts, according to AnnArbor.com. It also requires voter approval.
Even as individual districts look for ways to spend less, Miller predicted a statewide discussion of education costs, particularly in the areas of employee health care and retirement costs, AnnArbor.com reported.
AnnArbor.com, "Impact of countywide school millage failure: WISD leader says cuts to school districts are coming," Nov. 5, 2009
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "If Proposal A Ain't Broke ..." Nov. 6, 2009
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The (False) Hope of School District Consolidation," Oct. 29, 2009