Changing Seasons

As I rounded the corner, there it was a beautiful mix of colors and sizes of plants.  At the edge of the road grew bright yellow goldenrods, immediately behind them was a bunch of wheat grass just beginning to turn brown, standing tall behind them was a group of reeds and cattails.  That scene was only three weeks ago.  This week, the goldenrods were gone and the wheat grass had withered.  The bright spot in the landscape was of course the trees! 

As I rounded the same corner and cruised up the hill the brightly colored leaves were peaking over the edge of the road, lightly waving in the fall breeze.  Each day as I drove up that same incline I notice the trees becoming more vibrant with their leaves almost leaping off of their branches, bursting with color!

Just as the seasons change the colors of the leaves and the scenery around us, so has the passage of time changed the way schools are funded and the amount of funding received from the state. In November 1978 Michigan voters approved the so-called Headlee Amendment which was considered earth-shaking tax reform in those days. 

In March of 1994, state voters approved school-finance reform legislation (Proposal A), which replaced local property taxes with state level taxes, principally the sales tax. Proposal A revamped how schools would be funded and also provided educational reforms. Proposal A promised a minimum per pupil foundation allowance, more equity among local school districts, lower property taxes, and more school accountability.  Proposal A dramatically decreased the amount of property taxes paid by Michigan residents and limited future increases.

Property is now classified as homestead and non-homestead. Homestead property is considered to be a Michigan resident’s home. Business property, rental housing, and vacation homes are considered to be non-homestead property. Property that is not a homestead and not qualified agricultural property can be assessed up to an additional 18 mills for local school operating purposes.

Currently those who have business property, rental housing, and vacation homes that are classified as non-homestead are paying 18 mills for local school operating purposes.  On Tuesday, November 8th Columbia School District will have an operating millage proposal on the ballot.  The proposal will allow the Columbia School District to continue to levy the statutory rate of not exceed 18 mills for non-homestead property tax.  Please remember that this renewal does not apply to a Michigan principal residence (your principal home) or qualified agricultural property.  Passage of this operating millage proposal is required for Columbia School District to receive the full $9,150 per pupil foundation allowance, which funds the education of our students.  If you have any questions, please email or call 517.592.6641.