MOISD millage election: Why we need your help

By Steven Westhoff 

Reed City Superintendent of Schools

On Tuesday, May 8, the MOISD along with your local school districts will ask voters to approve a millage for .75 mills for a period of five years.

For Reed City Area Public Schools this millage would raise $270,000 for each of the five years. For a home owner who owns a house with a market value of $100,000 the tax increase is only $38.50 total per year. Here’s why we need the money.

Our middle school roof, which is the original from 1993, is leaking and needs to be replaced; approximate cost $420,000. Our bus fleet is old with an average age of 12 years.

We haven’t purchased a new bus since 2007, we can’t continue to transport our students safely without replacements; approximate cost $95,000 per bus. Our parking lots are full of pot holes and breaking up due to age; the least expensive repair will cost approximately $132,000 (three lots). The carpet in the middle school; original from 1993 is falling apart; cost to replace it is $105,000. The partitions in the restrooms at the middle school have rusted off their mounts; replacement cost is $15,000.

There are numerous other needs as well. You can find the entire list of needs for each of the 5 years on our website at www.reedcity.k12.mi.us. Some of the items (if we are able to purchase them) will actually save us money over time by reducing our energy costs; things like a new hot water heater at the middle school and new gym lights.

Some of you may want to know why we haven’t put away money for these necessities. We’ve tried. Due to budget cuts we’ve been placing only $75,000 per year in our capital improvements budget (it used to be $150,000 to $200,000) for the last 7 years and it’s just not enough to keep up. As an example; last year we had to replace the roof on the high school gym that was leaking like a sieve. The roof was over 15 years old, out of warranty, and an embarrassment to the district and community. We used the funds from the capital improvements budget along (fortunately) with the proceeds of a building that we sold to cover the $115,000 that it cost.

If your budget each year is $75,000 and one bus cost $95,000 you can see that a problem exists.

We don’t have the money to meet our basic facility and transportation needs and to serve our students and community in an appropriate manner. Without the millage we will not be able to purchase these items.

We want to make sure that every resident of our district has as much information as possible regarding these needs. We invite you to attend a work study session of the Board of Education at our at 6 p.m. April 30 meeting.

We will answer any questions you may have and provide lots of additional information in regards to everything on the list. Also feel free to contact me at 832-2201 at your convenience or e-mail me at swesthoff@reedcity.k12.mi.us regarding questions you may have or to arrange of tour of facilities to examine items on the list.