October 24, 2014

School board members and millage to be decided at general election

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
Posted

ARENAC COUNTY — In last week’s issue of the Arenac County Independent, we looked at local government positions and proposals that will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. This week we’re taking a look at what voters will see on the ballot for area school districts.

At the Arenac Eastern School District, voters will have to elect two school board members, one four-year term and on partial term, to the Board of Education. There are currently no candidates for the positions and those elected will be write-in candidates.

The Standish-Sterling Community School District currently has three candidates running for three open seats on its Board of Education. Annette Ratajczak and Denny Kolevar are running for two four-year regular terms, ending in 2015. Patricia Kipfmiller is the only person on the ballot running for a partial term ending in 2012.

The last education item voters will see when they come out Nov. 8 is the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District’s special education millage proposal.

According to Bay-Arenac ISD Superintendent Michael Dewey, the ISD is looking to add one mill ($1 on each $1,000 of taxable value) for the next 20 years to help support special education in its member school districts.

The increase would put the millage levied by the district at 3.8403 mills if the vote were passed. According to Dewey, if the millage passes it will generate approximately $3.4 million per year.

Dewey said the proposed millage would go directly to school districts that are members of the ISD, including AuGres-Sims, Arenac Eastern and Standish-Sterling Community school districts.

“We are looking to help support districts who have to pay for special education cost(s) out of their general fund,” he said. “That is money that is currently being taken from programs like band and music. Because special education programs have gotten so expensive these last few years, we thought this could be a good option to help our districts.”

Unfunded special education expenses cost Arenac Eastern schools $40,365, AuGres-Sims schools $148,657 and Standish-Sterling Community Schools $641,815 in the 2008-09 school year, which was the most recent data available.

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