YCS Millage Renewal Won't Cost Homeowners A Dime But Could Make Or Break The District

Apr 26, 2017

One of the YCS schools that will be impacted by the millage renewal.
Credit Lisa Barry

YCS Superintendent Dr. Benjamin Edmondson
Credit Lisa Barry

One of the issues on the ballot early next month in Washtenaw County will be a proposal to renew and restore the Non-Homestead Operating Millage for Ypsilanti Community Schools.

Lisa Barry reports, with the future of the city hinging on the success of its schools, opposition to the ballot proposal is difficult to find.

This millage proposal is a non-homestead renewal, which means it won’t cost homeowners anything, according to Ypsilanti Community Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Benjamin Edmondson.

“There are no tax implications for a home owner, or someone who actually lives in an apartment,” says Edmondson.  “But if you own apartments or industry or businesses, then what we’re asking them to do is to basically go out and, quite frankly, support what they’re already doing.”

Erikson Elementary School Principal Kelly Mickel.
Credit Lisa Barry

Jami Throne (top left) holding 4-year-old Caleb Throne and Kathi Beal (top right) holding Rosalie Beal with Liliana Beal, who is 15 months, is in the stroller.
Credit Lisa Barry

The millage renewal will be used to cover the district’s operating costs, which, school officials say, means it’s used to cover a lot of the essentials they use to teach children.

“If the millage does not pass, YCS will lose $2,371.29 per pupil,” says Erickson Elementary School Principal Kelly Mickel.

Edmondson says passing the millage will allow their district to hire and retain quality teachers, support students with additional needs, and maintain their facilities.

**NOTE** (added 04/28/17 11:54am by PC) - As noted in this article from MLive, the annual collection amount on the ballot is overstated.  

3. How much money will the operating millage raise?

The ballot language incorrectly states YCS would collect about $25.8 million a year if the operating millage proposal is approved. In fact, school officials estimate the annual operating millage revenue would be around $9 million, which is about 16.5 percent of YCS total annual revenue. In 2016, YCS collected $8.55 million from its operating millage, according to a report from the Washtenaw County Equalization Department. The YCS board of education is responsible for certifying the ballot language submitted to the Washtenaw County elections division, said Ed Golembiewski, director of elections for Washtenaw County. Golembiewski told The Ann Arbor News school officials have not requested an update to the ballot language they submitted, which would require reprinting ballots.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu