Rochester Community Schools to seek Operating Millage Renewal in August Election

The Rochester Community Schools Board of Education has approved a resolution calling for an election for operating millage renewal. The district’s operating property tax millage is set to expire at on December 31, 2014. Under the school aid funding formula set by Proposal A in 1994, the State of Michigan assumes that the district collects 18 mills ($18 of taxes for every $1,000 of taxable value) on non-primary residency. Non-primary residency property (formerly known as “non-homestead property”) includes business real property, rental homes, vacant land, and second homes and commercial personal property including business equipment and furnishings. This tax is not collected on homeowners, but is required to be approved by the school district’s voters.

During the 2013-14 fiscal year, Rochester Community Schools will collect $16.3 million of local property taxes from this millage to fund the district’s general operations. This is 14% ($1,082) of the district’s $7,922 per student foundation allowance. The state makes up the remaining $6,840 per student in state aid.

Since the passage of Proposal A in 1994, Rochester Community Schools has sought approval of this millage twice, in 1995 and 2005. The current ten-year millage was approved by voters in May 2005 and will provide funding through the 2014/2015 fiscal year. Voters approved 19.9767 mills for school operations in 2005. This has been permanently reduced by 0.046 mills over the years to 19.9307 due to millage reduction fractions.  The ballot language will ask for a renewal of 19.9307 mills, but only 18 mills would be levied. The additional 1.9307mill would be levied only if the 18 mills is rolled back to an amount lower than 18 mills by the Headlee Amendment. For instance, if a Headlee rollback reduced the operating millage to 17.5 mills, .5 of the other 1.9307 mills, would be used to restore the 18 mills.

“This operating millage renewal is critically important to the district,” said Superintendent Robert Shaner. “We could not sustain a loss of $16.3 million in revenues and continue to provide the comprehensive educational experience our students expect and deserve.”

The August 5, 2014 is the state primary election, which allows the district to place the millage renewal on the ballot at little or no cost to the district.

The information contained in the above press release was provided by the Rochester Community Schools District.

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