Edwardsburg schools push for millage renewal

NOW: Edwardsburg schools push for millage renewal

EDWARDSBURG, Mich. -- On May 3, Ontwa Township voters will have the chance to vote to renew the Edwardsburg Public School millage-- which sets $18 of each $1000 of a property's taxable value to go directly toward funding the district. 

“We use that to fix roofs, pay for custodians, teachers, and many other things that come along," said Edwardsburg Superintendent Jim Knoll. "This is the biggest amount of money that we get back from the state each year.”

If renewed, the district is set to get $2,316,618 worth of funding, on top of the roughly $8,700 of funding the they receive per student from the state.

But this millage does not come from the pockets of every Edwardsburg resident.

“This particular millage-- anybody who owns their own home and it’s a primary residence, this millage will not go onto that person’s taxes," said Ontwa Township Clerk Tina VanBelle. 

The millage primarily affects businesses and individuals that own property that is not their main residence. That includes properties like summer lake houses, which there are plenty of in Ontwa Township. 

I reached out to several residents and businesses in the area for their thoughts on renewing the millage-- none offered comment. 

VanBelle said these types of votes-- while important-- typically don't get enough attention from the majority of voters. 

“In a school millage—not that it’s not important, because it is—but there are just a lot of people that just don’t make it to the polls," she said. 

Which is something that concerns Knoll-- but he feels that there are members of the community who do stay engaged to make sure measures like this are voted on because of their importance. 

“This vote is never really that close percentage-wise," said Knoll. "I hope it stays that way.”

Part of the reason the millage is voted on every year, compared to other districts voting on millages every five years-- is because they value the community's opinion. 

Knoll said “It’s just important to have the community having a voice on how we run the schools and that we are good stewards with the finances that we have.”

“Anybody who wants to vote—come out next Tuesday and vote," advised VanBelle.

This is not he only school-funding vote happening on May 2: the Constantine Public Schools district will have a vote on a $38 million bonding proposal. 

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