On Tuesday, May 2, 2023 Columbia School District voters will have the opportunity to vote on a millage proposal. On the ballot will be the operating millage proposal that will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on non-homestead property.
Non-homestead properties are industrial, commercial and some agricultural property and “second homes” located within the district. It does not include a family’s primary residence.
In 1994 Proposal A was approved by Michigan voters, which created the structure of how Michigan schools are funded. Under the plan, Michigan schools are funded with a total of 24 mills on non-homesteads. This is made up of a state-wide millage rate of 6 mills on all property and 18 mills on non-homestead property when approved by local voters.
This structure ensures that the State pays the majority of the cost, but to receive full funding of $9,150 per pupil, schools must levy 18 mills on non-homestead property in their district.
The Headlee amendment to the Michigan Constitution caps property tax increases at 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. Since the rate of growth of property values sometimes exceeds the rate of inflation, the actual tax levy decreases when this occurs. This is called the Millage Reduction Fraction (MRF).
Since 1994 the Columbia School District community has had the opportunity to vote to approve to retain the 18 mill non-homestead millage every six years. In November of 2018, Columbia voters approved a Headlee override millage. This originally gave a combined total approval of just under 19 mills. The maximum amount Columbia School District is allowed to levy 18 mills. The additional mills provided protection as the rates potentially “roll back.”
Due to the “Roll-Back” as outlined in the Headlee amendment, the total authorized amount is currently 18.0079 (only 18 mills are actually levied on non-homestead properties). Due to the large increase in housing prices, this year’s “Roll-Back” is expected to reduce our level of millage below the 18 mill threshold, thereby decreasing the per-student funding from the State of Michigan below the $9150.
This is not a new tax. This millage was originally approved by the voters in 1994. This renewal will have little effect on current taxes for our community. If you only own your main residence in our district, this tax does not apply.
If this millage does not pass, the State will not replace the difference in the level of funding, and Columbia School District will be forced to reduce or cut programs to offset the loss.
If you have any questions, please contact the Columbia School District Administration office. Email Pamela.Campbell@myeagles.org or call 517-592-6641.