Wayne County schools are turning to voters to renew the Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agencies Enhancement Millage.
If passed, homeowners will continue to pay an average of $8 a month in property taxes to supplement the state’s per-pupil funding.
“If you look at those dollars that are coming from the state, we’re actually 50 in comparison to 50 other states over the last 20 plus years.” — Randy Liepa, Superintendent of Wayne RESA
Randy Liepa is the superintendent of Wayne RESA, the county’s intermediate school district. He says Michigan funds schools too poorly to cover school needs.
“If you went back four years, before this was passed, a lot of the conversations among superintendents were ‘what are we doing just to make it from one year to the next,’” Liepa says. “And (the enhancement millage passage) completely flipped the switch on that, and now they’re talking about ‘what educational programs are we going to be offering our students.’”
Taxes from the millage passed in 2016 will be collected through 2021. It voters agree, taxes from this renewal will begin to be collected in 2022. Taxpayers will not see an increase in property taxes.
Liepa says one reason Wayne RESA is proposing the renewal now is to allow school districts the opportunity to plan their budgets. Another reason, he says, is educators across the state have hoped the state would change its funding formula to better fund schools.
“If you look at those dollars that are coming from the state, we’re actually 50 in comparison to 50 other states over the last 20 plus years,” Liepa says.
The enhancement millage gives schools almost $350 more per student per year.
Liepa says schools have used the money to fund a variety of needs ranging from lowering class sizes to upgrading facilities.