Pine River schools asks for two millages

If both pass, taxes will not be increased

LEROY – To save money spent on yearly elections, residents within the Pine River School district will see two millages on the ballot May 8 that will fund the school’s operational expenses for five years.

In the past, the district held an election for voters to approve the 18 mil operational fund millage every year. With the five-year operational millage, the district is asking for an additional 2 mil millage that would only be used if district funds were cut over the next five years.

The additional millage would ensure the district does not lose funds that could be lost due to a change in taxable values from one year to the next, called the Headlee millage reduction fraction.

“It’s a safety net so that if the Headlee rollback should have an impact on the 18 mills, we won’t lose any money,” said Ava Lucas, Pine River Schools business manager.

According to Michigan State law, school districts can only levy 18 mills from taxpayers each year.

“All that extra 2 mills will do, is if the Headley rollback were to have an impact on the school, we can use whatever we need (of the 2 mills) to maintain our $18 million,” Lucas said.

Pine River School District Superintendent Jim Ganger said the election is important to the school and encourages votes to support both proposals.

"We need voters to understand that these are not new taxes and the school district really needs the support of the community for survival," Ganger said.

Pine River Schools currently has 1,163 students enrolled in kindergarden through 12th grade. The millage would bring in $1.8 million for the district.

Both millages on the ballot are for non-homestead properties, and do not include principal residences and other properties exempted by law.

The school board decided to change the annual millage renewal from annually to every five years at its January board meeting after noting the savings. Holding an election once every five years will save the school $16,000 in election costs over the course of five years.