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 Students get off the bus at Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology. On March 10, voters in the Southfield Public Schools district will decide whether to approve a replacement operating millage.

Students get off the bus at Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology. On March 10, voters in the Southfield Public Schools district will decide whether to approve a replacement operating millage.

File photo by Donna Agusti


Southfield Public Schools puts millage proposal on March ballot

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published March 4, 2020

 The proposal would restore, replace and extend the authority of the Southfield Public Schools to levy mills for general school district operating purposes, officials said.

The proposal would restore, replace and extend the authority of the Southfield Public Schools to levy mills for general school district operating purposes, officials said.

File photo by Donna Agusti

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SOUTHFIELD — Voters in the Southfield Public Schools district will decide whether to approve a replacement operating millage March 10.

According to the Oakland County Elections Division’s official ballot language, if approved, the proposal would allow the school district to restore the levy to 18 mills on non-homestead property and replace the authorized limit with 20 mills on non-homestead property.

That portion of the proposal would not affect taxes for homeowners within the district. That portion only applies to industrial and commercial businesses, rental properties, and second-home properties, according to the ballot.

The proposal would restore, replace and extend the authority of the Southfield Public Schools to levy mills for general school district operating purposes.

If approved, the money the district receives from the millage would support the day-to-day operations of the school district, including salaries for teachers and staff, according to Rosemerry Allen, the district’s millage board co-chair.

“This is not for brick and mortar. This is for actual classrooms and is actually going to help the students and help the teachers,” Allen said. “It will also help the students get social services with counselors and other professionals that provide that kind of care.”

A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of taxable valuation on property.

Allen said that the millage applies to non-homestead properties, which are defined as industrial and commercial businesses, rentals, and second-home properties.

“Granted, the taxes in Southfield are very high — I know that. But this mill is going to place a little bit more of the burden on non-homestead businesses,” she said.

However, according to literature about the millage on the SPS website, due to the Headlee rollback, the Southfield Public Schools district currently is levying around 14.9377 mills on primary homeowners.

If this measure is approved, according to the district’s information, the district could levy up to 16.9698 mills on homeowners.

“The school district would levy on principal residence property only that portion of the mills necessary to allow the school district to receive the full revenue-per-pupil foundation allowance permitted by the state,” SPS Director of Communications Anika Corbett said in the email.

Allen said Southfield has an advantage in that many businesses call the city home.

“We feel that the businesses won’t mind to do a little bit more because we have such a large business base. We have more businesses than any other city in the state,” she said. “A lot of them are Fortune 500 companies.”

The money from the millage, if approved, will represent approximately 49.35% of the overall general fund budget, or more than $42.3 million, according to information from the district.

“We are asking that the non-homestead businesses to pay just a little bit more to make sure we can continue providing great education in the city of Southfield,” Allen said.

Superintendent Jennifer Martin-Green did not return requests for comment by press time.

For more information, visit southfield.k12.org.


Replacement Operation Millage Proposal
This proposal would restore, replace and extend the authority of the Southfield Public Schools to levy up to 18.00 mills for general school district operating purposes on taxable property in the School District to the extent that such property is not exempt from such levy and would restrict the levy on principal residences (owner occupied homes) to no more than 16.9698 mills. If approved, this proposal would restore the authority of the School District to levy the statutory limit of 18.00 mills on non-homestead (principally industrial and commercial real property and residential rental property) which currently expires after the School District’s 2020 tax levy, and allow the district to continue to levy the statutory limit of 18 mills on non-homestead property in the event of future Headlee rollbacks of up to 2.00 mills. Under existing law the School District would levy on principal residence property only that portion of the mills necessary to allow the School District to receive the full revenue per pupil foundation allowance permitted by the State.

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in the Southfield Public Schools, County of Oakland, Michigan, be increased to 20.00 mills ($20.00 per $1,000 of taxable value), of which not more than 16.9698 mills may be imposed on principal residences, for ten (10) years, the years 2020 to 2029, inclusive, to provide funds for operating expenses of the school district? This millage would raise approximately $42,309,000 in the first year of levy.

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