MAPS renewal millage deserves community support

An important vote is coming up for the Marquette Area Public Schools on Aug. 6. A request for a renewal of an operational millage will be on the ballot that day.

The Mining Journal has been skeptical in the past when MAPS has tried to pass bond proposals and in most cases we have not supported those bond proposals because we felt the amount of money they were asking for was not justified. In this case the vote on Aug. 6 is for the renewal of an operational millage, which has been around since 1994. For this specific renewal request The Mining Journal is strongly urging a yes vote. We need to have a strong school district and the money from this operational millage is essential to keep our district alive and well.

The average homeowner will not see an increase in taxes if the operational millage is passed. The renewal amount is only relevant for non-homestead properties, which is for second homes and businesses. Non-homestead property owners and businesses won’t see an increase in taxes because this is a renewal of an existing tax, not a request for additional taxes or a tax increase.

There is language in the ballot proposal that includes a .5 mill increase. This increase would only be relevant and used in the case where tax valuations in the district change enough to dictate that the millage amount increase to meet the state requirements of 18 mills. If property values don’t change the additional .5 mills cannot be levied.

If this renewal request does not go through the school district would lose $8.4 million or close to one third of the MAPS budget. The district would not be able to continue to operate without this funding.

Parents of students need to get out and vote yes to pass this renewal request on Aug. 6 to insure that we maintain a strong school district. We are also asking all other voters including the strong senior citizen voting block to do their homework on this request and support it as well because the future of our school district is at stake. The Mining Journal has done its homework on this vote and that is why we strongly support the renewal of this operational millage.

We will continue to monitor future requests in the case of a bond proposal as part of our watchdog of the community role to make sure the need for the money is justified. If we don’t feel the need is clear and the amount being requested is justified, we won’t support that type of a request. In this case it is very clear that the renewal of this operational millage is absolutely essential to maintaining a strong school district.

We know that during these tough economic times, voting yes on any millage request is hard to do. But in this case, remember it’s not asking for new money such as a bond request. This is simply a vote for the renewal of an existing operational millage, which, by current law, the district has to ask for at a minimum once every 20 years.

After you do your homework, we urge you to vote yes on this request for the renewal of this operational millage proposal.