Districts take sides on Wayne RESA millage

TRENTON, Mich. - School boards are lining up for and against a proposal for a new, countywide school millage in Wayne County, according to media reports. School boards in Livonia, Trenton and Southgate will not support the proposal, while those in Allen Park, Crestwood, Flat Rock, Gibraltar and Lincoln Park have voted in favor, the reports said.

The Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency wants to ask voters to approve a 1.9-mill levy that would bring in an estimated $92 million for distribution to 34 school districts within the county, based on each district's enrollment, The (Southgate) News-Herald reported.

Under state law, an intermediate district can levy up to three mills for supplemental education funding if a majority of voters living in the intermediate district approve it, according to The News Herald. To place it on the ballot, Wayne RESA must obtain support from school districts representing at least half the student population in the county, according to The Detroit News.

The largest local district, Detroit Public Schools, has not yet taken up the matter, The News reported.

Taxpayers in Trenton would pay about $1.5 million in new taxes, based on property values, and receive about $1 million for the school district, based on enrollment, Trenton Superintendent John Savel said, according to The News-Herald.

"Given the financial times, the board felt now is not the right time to ask for additional taxes," Savel told The News Herald.

Livonia school board President Lynda Scheel said that passing a regional millage would only allow the state to avoid making necessary changes to school funding, The News reported.

The (Southgate) News-Herald, "Trenton: School board opposes countywide education millage," April 22, 2010

The Detroit News, "Wayne County districts resist proposed regional school tax," April 22, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "Voters turn down new school tax," Nov. 7, 2009