Non-Homestead Operating Millage Key Facts
Does this Operating Millage apply to my home?
This non-homestead millage refers to the 18-mills that our school's levy on businesses and vacation homes. It does not apply to the home that you live in.
I pay property taxes to support the schools, how can you say that this millage will not increase my property taxes?
The state has established 6-mills as the millage rate on your personal home. This 6-mill rate has been in place since 1994 and will not be changed by the vote outcome. The 6-mills on property tax act the same as a sales tax. As your home increases or decreases in value, the amount you pay in taxes will increase or decrease accordingly but the rate stays the same for all homeowners on their primary residence.
Will my rent go up?
Rental property is considered as business property, not principal residence. As such, if the millage rate returns to 18-mills as in past years, this will increase the amount of property taxes paid when comparing to last year and this year. The decision to raise or lower rents based on a millage, or any other reason, is a personal decision for the property owner.
Will the state make up the difference in funding if the millage fails?
NO! The state will not make up for the shortfall of local tax collections.
School funding for Michigan is made up of three primary sources. The largest source of funding (approximately 72%) comes directly from the state of Michigan. Our ability to levy and collect local taxes makes up the second largest source of school funding (approximately 17% or $9+ million). If our millage rate continues to roll backwards it will have a direct impact on staffing, academic and athletic programming in the near future. That will not be the responsibility of the state but our local responsibility.
Since our district is growing, don’t we get more funding from the state and won’t this offset the loss of operating millage funding?
It’s true that our district will receive more funding when we receive more students. We are funded on a per-student count. What is also true is that with more students comes more expenses. The more we grow, the more we need to add teachers, support staff, purchase more instructional materials, more transportation costs, etc. In the recently released School Finance Research Collaborative study conducted by some leading experts around the country, it was determined that Michigan schools are particularly challenged as it relates to funding schools regardless of school size. So while adding more students will provide more funding, it can be argued that the amount per student is already not sufficient and more students alone with not solve the challenge of shrinking local revenue.
Is this a new tax?
No, this is not a new tax. Caledonia Community Schools has counted on and levied 18-mills ever since early 1994 until the first Headlee rollback in 2018. In fact, in 2015 the voters of Caledonia Community Schools passed a 5-year Operating Millage with the expressed purpose to levy 18-mills from the years of 2015 – 2020. However, due to a little known law passed back in the 1970’s known as the “Headlee Rollback” amendment, the voters’ intentions to continue with the levying of 18-mills on Non-Homestead property until 2020 has not been realized. Unfortunately, no one was able to predict that this 1970s law would eat away at the spirit and intent of the Caledonia voters in 2015.
If you can only collect 18-mills, why are you asking for a 1.8 mill increase?
Wouldn’t this result in more than 18-mills? If the Operating Millage passes in November, this will raise the millage number above 18-mills but the schools are limited by law to only collect 18-mills. By raising the millage above 18-mills, it will provide a buffer for future millage reductions from the Headlee Rollback law from the 1970s. This buffer will allow the district to collect the full 18-mills as the voters intended in 2015.
Dialogue with Doc Martin
You are encouraged to join Dr. Martin on any of the following dates to learn more about the Caledonia Community Schools Non-Homestead Millage on the Nov. 5 ballot.
October 3 - Caledonia Library @ 6:30 pm
October 14 - Uccellos Ariana's Room @ 12:30 pm
October 23 - The Vault Cafe & Bakery @ 7 am
District Election Publications
A sample of the Operating Millage Proposal wording for the November 5th ballot:
This proposal will allow the school district to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance.
Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Caledonia Community Schools, Kent, Allegan and Barry Counties, Michigan, be increased by 1.8 mills ($1.80 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for the year 2020, to provide funds for operating purposes: the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2020 is approximately $329,000 (this millage is to restore millage lost as a result of the reduction required by the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and will be levied only to the extent necessary to restore that reduction)?