WCS millage renewal passes

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published May 5, 2017


WARREN/STERLING HEIGHTS/TROY — On May 2, taxpayers in Warren Consolidated Schools approved the district’s zero-tax rate operating millage renewal.

According to the unofficial results from the Macomb County Clerk’s Office, there were 7,344 (70.6 percent) “yes” votes and 3,057 (29.4 percent) “no” votes.

The millage renewal will continue to levy the number of operating mills required for the school district to receive revenue at the full per-pupil foundation allowance permitted by the state of Michigan.

“On behalf of the Warren Consolidated Schools Board of Education, we are overwhelmed by the level of support from the community for this operating millage renewal,” WCS Superintendent Robert Livernois said. “This renewal provides the district the opportunity to continue providing outstanding programs and services for our students.” 

According to school officials, the millage renewal is not a tax rate increase and is the same rate that residents approved 10 years ago, in 2007. The current 9 mills being levied will stay the same. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 used to calculate taxes on property.

WCS has an operating budget of $162 million. Livernois said 60 percent of the renewal applies to businesses, rental properties and other non-exempt properties, while the other 40 percent applies to homeowners. 

The operating millage renewal directly contributes to the district’s operating budget and assists in maintaining programs for students. According to school officials, without the millage renewal, the district would receive 23 percent less funding for the next 10 years, impacting programs, class sizes, learning materials, staffing and extracurricular activities.

The operating millage renewal is not related to the $134.5 million capital improvement bond issue that passed in 2016 and cannot be used for annual operating expenses, staff salaries, utility costs or classroom learning materials. The capital improvement bond addresses safety and security, technology, and facility improvements districtwide.

According to the Macomb County Clerk’s Office ballot language, both millages are for a period of 10 years, from 2018 to 2027. Now that both operating millages have passed, they will provide approximately $37 million in revenue every year for 10 years to be used for general operating purposes, which include salaries, instruction, utilities, supplies, food services and more.