MOISD $8.4 million bond passes

MECOSTA COUNTY — Local funding will continue, as voters passed a renewal millage to help provide financial assistance for Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District students with special needs.

Between Osceola, Mecosta and Lake counties, a total of 5,060 voters placed a vote on the issue, with 3,013 voting in support and 2,047 against.

"It's pretty exciting for our school districts and our special-needs students," said Curt Finch, MOISD superintendent. "I think the gap as large as it is is positive and means people got the message and understood the dollars are going to those students."

The renewal makes up the difference between the $1,700 on average the state allocates for education and the cost of providing education for students with special needs. Now approved, the 10-year millage will provide up to $8.4 million in funding for the MOISD.

"We want to thank the community of those two counties for supporting the local special needs students," Finch added.

The millage originally was passed in 2007, providing special-education funding for Big Rapids Public Schools, Chippewa Hills School District, Crossroads Charter Academy, Evart Public Schools, Morley Stanwood Community Schools and Reed City Area Public Schools.

The bond has contributed around $2 million to the MOISD each year, which was split up among the districts. The amount each district received from the millage depended on the schools individual special-education needs.

The MOISD Education Center does receive a small amount of the funds, but much less compared to the school districts because the center receives funding specifically for the education center students. While the MOISD provides services for special-education students who require more attention, the schools provide services as well.