Clawson schools millage renewal passes overwhelmingly

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published May 10, 2019

File photo by Deb Jacques

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CLAWSON — On May 7, the city of Clawson held a special election with a single ballot item: a non-homestead operating millage renewal proposal for Clawson Public Schools.

According to unofficial election results, voters in five precincts approved the proposal 84.01% — or 1,114 votes — to 15.99% — or 212 votes. The millage will generate almost $1.9 million, or 10% of the district’s operating revenue.

“We’re very excited and very thankful to the community for supporting our schools,” Clawson Public Schools Superintendent Tim Wilson said. “It’s going to be beneficial. It’s something we’re required to do to get full funding from the state.”

Funding levels are established by the state, and in order to receive the full amount of funding permitted by the state, local districts are required to collect 18 mills on non-homestead properties.

Non-homestead properties include business, industrial, commercial, some agricultural property and second homes. Residents who own and live in a single home are not subject to the tax.

The state provides each district with a foundation allowance and determines how much money it receives per pupil. Clawson Public Schools is projected to receive approximately $12,503,174 total for all pupils.

As long as Clawson levies the full 18 mills, the state will make up the difference, whatever the dollar amount is, to get to the full funding; however, this year was the first year the district did not collect the full 18 mills. Without the millage renewal, the district had anticipated losing $50,000 from its full funding amount in the upcoming July tax levy, due to the Headlee Amendment rollback.

The Headlee Amendment reduces the authorized millage that districts or governmental entities are allowed to levy as property values increase at a rate greater than inflation.

“We all know that Clawson property values have been going up pretty significantly lately,” said Jackie Johnston, assistant superintendent of business services, during a March 19 City Council meeting. “When those property values go up greater than inflation, we’re required to roll back our millage, and that’s a permanent reduction … and it compounds every year.”

The 10-year renewal will continue to fund the district’s needs and accounts for future Headlee rollbacks.

Voters approved 22 mills, or the 18 mills required plus 4 additional mills, but the district will only levy the maximum allowable 18 mills legally authorized to be levied in any given year.

The 4 mills would be available in the event of future property tax rollbacks under the Headlee Amendment.

“We’re going to continue to offer an outstanding, well-rounded education,” Wilson said. “I’m proud we offer so much for our kids, and so many opportunities. Band, orchestra, fine arts and visual arts are very strong in Clawson.”

Clawson Clerk Victoria Mitchell did not return requests for comment by press time.

For more information, visit www.clawsonschools.org.

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