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Planning for an Uncertain Future

March 1, 2009

One of the most difficult challenges of being a Superintendent in the early 21st century is planning for an uncertain future.  As I type this, the information we have about next year’s budget is limited at best.  State funding is in flux – the Govenors released $59 per pupil reduction will possibly be restored by the federal stimulus package, but there has been no formal announcement to confirm this possibility.  We have heard rumors and received bits of information about the extent of the federal dollars coming to Saline – none of which are certain or appropriate to use in planning for now.

Last week, the Board of Education had the vision to take a position for local control and voted 7-0 to place the CARES millage renewal and a Sinking Fund millage on the May 5th ballot.  In the upcoming two months we will be working diligently to inform the Saline Area School community about both millages and the impact they could have on the district for the next ten years.

One of the decisions the Board made when putting the measures on the ballot was the level of the CARES renewal.  After careful consideration of the districts’ needs, the support of the CARES Advisory Board and the community’s ability to support the school system, the School Board chose to place the renewal on for .50 mill, which is a .35 mill reduction from the original millage that was approved by the voters in September 2000.  That reduced amount allowed a .35 mill Sinking Fund mileage to be added to the ballot without an increase from the original .85 CARES millage.

According to the current funding recipients, the .50 mill CARES renewal would be sufficient to maintain the current level of services supported by the original .85 mill levy. In discussions with the current funding recipients, they acknowledged the current economic conditions and the need to stretch the funds as far as possible to support the quality of life in the Saline community

The .35 mill Sinking Fund would generate approximately $580,000 a year to fund needed infrastructure projects and to protect the community’s investment in district facilities. Presently, both Chelsea and Ann Arbor have Sinking Fund millages.

With the uncertainty of the future, we will be unable to count on Lansing for the funding to keep Saline one of the premier school districts in the State of Michigan.  Fortunately, as a community we will have the opportunity to decide if we want to help stabilize the uncertainty we are currently facing.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2009 6:51 pm

    Well Scott, I never vote for tax increases, except for the schools so count me in.

    Why don’t you in your next post, do the increase on homes, like 200K, 300K, 400K, so folks can see what the cost will actually be.

    Tough times for everyone, but our Schools are important they effect home sales as you know.

  2. Scot Graden permalink
    March 2, 2009 11:11 pm

    Missy,

    The nice thing the Board did was keep the renewal in the same envelope as the original CARES Millage. The tax will be an additional $1.89 per $100,000 of taxable value. Most local taxpayers would see a impact of under $10 a year.

  3. March 5, 2009 3:20 pm

    Scot,

    Great blog. You really nailed what the future has in store. Has there ever been a time when education has been adequately funded.

    David

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