EPS planners hope for funding renewal


EVART — “This is a renewal, not the creation of new taxes.”

Evart Public Schools district superintendent Howard Hyde is adamant that voters heading for the polls next week understand the millage renewal proposal they are being asked to decide is just that — a renewal.

In the Evart Public Schools district, officials are asking voters to renew a millage on Tuesday, Nov. 4, that will allow them to continue collecting the statutory levy of 18 mills on all property — with the exception of homestead properties, or “principal residences.”

On the ballot, the proposal language reads:

“Evart Public Schools Operating Millage Renewal Proposal

“This proposal will allow the school district to levy the statutory rate of 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and any other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance and renews millage that will expire with the 2014 tax levy.”

The ballot question is proposed thus:

“Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation of 22.1148 mills ($22.1148 on every $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and any other property exempted by law, in Evart Public Schools ...be renewed for a period of four years, 2015 to 2018 inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2015 is approximately $1,788,968 (this is a renewal of millage which will expire with the 2014 tax levy)?”

Voters are simply asked to decide “Yes” or “No.”

“There is a little difference between this and other renewals of the millage which we have asked voters to approve in the past,” noted Hyde. “This gives us a cushion for four years. Previously we had been coming back year after year with the same request.

“There really is no need to be taking the time and making the effort to ask for the same renewal year after year ...and this is a renewal. It is not a request for new tax funding in any way, shape of form.”

The millage bid is strictly a renewal of what is currently being levied and paid by all property owners in the district — excluding those owners of principal residences, (homestead properties).

Still, some area residents may be confused at what they see on the ballot.

While school district officials may only capture 18 mills in school funding - the maximum rate allowed by law - the proposal says it is a renewal of the “currently authorized rate limitation of 22.1148 mills.”

Is this actually a renewal of what taxpayers are currently turning over to the school district as levied taxes? Or is there a tax increase?

The answer is definitively — there is NO tax increase.

“Voters need to understand that despite the language in this proposal, we will still only be collecting 18 mills,” Hyde said.

The extra mills, (in this case, the extra 4.1148 mills being requested in the renewal), simply allow the district to continue collecting the statutory rate of 18 mills if there is a reduction through rollbacks, or for whatever reason.

“Our taxpayers will only ever pay 18 mills in support of the school district,” continued Hyde. “If we were to lose the funding, ($1,788,968, and actually a bit more), we would effectively need to close down the operation. This funding is absolutely vital to being able to continue our day-to-day operations.”

While the proposal language states the millage will be for “ ...22.1148 mills ($22.1148 on every $1,000 of taxable valuation) ...” the actual sum levied against taxpayers is $18 per every $1,000 of taxable valued property.

“Taxpayers affected by this millage will only paying 18 mills ...ever,” said Hyde. “And again, this is a renewal, not a request for the creation of new taxes in any form.”