21 Apr April 21, 2017 Superintendent’s Blog
Growing up, I often heard my dad say, “There is more month than money.” If you have ever been in that situation, you know how stressful it is to not have enough money to cover basic expenses. Public schools, including Northview, are in that situation now. Here is a bit of history.
Property Tax Relief
Prior to 1993, Michigan property taxes were 33% higher than the national average. Great inequities existed in school funding between districts across the State, tied directly to property values in those districts. Approximately 512 districts received less than $4,200 per student, some much less. Thirty-one districts received $7,000-$9,500 per student. Between 1972 and 1993, eight attempts to revise the personal property tax code were voted down by Michigan voters.
In July of 1993, Public Act 145 was signed into law. This law eliminated personal property tax as the main source of funding for public schools and provided relief to Michigan property owners by removing an average burden of 43.3% of their property tax.
To replace funding for schools, Michigan voters were presented with Proposal A, which asked for an increase in the sales tax rate from 4% to 6%. Sixty-nine percent of Michigan residents voted “yes” to the sales tax increase. Also tied to Proposal A was a provision which capped the “taxable value” of personal property at the lesser of 5% annually or the rate of inflation to provide assurance that property taxes would not skyrocket in future years.
Proposal A was welcomed by both property owners and educators. It provided property tax relief, rectified inequities in school funding statewide, removed the burden of frequent campaigns to pass local school millage elections from educators, and brought Michigan property and sales tax rates into line with national averages. By 2003, all Michigan public schools were funded at minimum, at what was then considered a “basic” per pupil foundation allowance of $6,700.
As you will see in my next blog post, with all of the good Proposal A brought, it also brought a new level of complexity to school funding, and even more importantly, it took away local control of public schools and moved the power to Lansing.
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To the Continued Success of our Students,