The final of Livingston County’s five public school districts has given approval to placing a special education millage proposal on the ballot in November. On Aug. 5th, the Livingston Educational Service Agency Board of Education will vote on whether to place a special education millage question on the fall election ballot that would ask the voters to approve a levy of 1.04 mills for 10 years. Last week, the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education joined with school boards in Fowlerville, Hartland, Howell, and Pinckney to approve placing the issue on the general election ballot. According to LESA Superintendent Dan Danosky, the millage is needed because of the Headlee Amendment which requires tax rollbacks when property values rise above 5% or the inflation rate, but doesn't provide for a restoration of the millage if property values go down. So when property values in the county fell in 2008, local millages brought in fewer tax dollars to districts while the requirement for intermediate school districts to provide special education services remained. The result was fewer local tax dollars to provide the same programs as before. That's why the proposal is being called a "restoration" millage — because it would restore special education funding to its previous level of 3.31 mills. While the Brighton Board of Education unanimously approved placing the millage proposal on the November ballot, Superintendent Greg Gray tells WHMI that the board merely approved putting it on the ballot and not to either approve or disapprove of the proposal. If the LESA Board approves putting the question on the ballot and the voters approve it in November, it would generate slightly over $7 million per year in revenue, which would be plugged directly into special education programs that LESA provides for local districts, including the salaries of 155 staff members including speech therapists, social workers, school psychologists and a special education director. In addition, LESA operates and pays for programs for the most severely disabled, along with an "Early On" program for those 0-3 years old and an Early Childhood program, both for young children with special needs. LESA also reimburses local districts for a portion of the unfunded costs totaling over $4 million and would pay much more of these unfunded costs with passage of the millage, leaving more money for other programs in local districts. The deadline for submitting the proposal for inclusion on the fall ballot is Aug. 6th, the day after the LESA Board of Education meeting. (TT/JK)

Livingston County residents will be facing another property tax hike. We will post details as we receive them.

View original article on WHMI website.

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