ALGER/MARQUETTE COUNTIES, Mich. (WJMN) – On May 2, a consolidated election will be held in Michigan. For Alger and Marquette County voters, there will be a Special Education Millage on the ballot.
Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA) has placed the Special Education Millage proposal on the ballot on behalf of the 12 local school districts and one school academy that it serves. The 20-year millage proposal (2023-2042) calls for a 1.5 mill tax increase. Dr. Travis Smith, MARESA’s deputy superintendent for educational services, shared why they are requesting this increase.
“Currently, across the two county area, Marquette-Alger RESA collects $20 million in special education revenue to distribute back to the local school districts. However, it is costing approximately $25 million across the two county area to educate students with special needs. So, the millage is asking the voters to solving that really big math problem and generating additional revenue to fund special education students.”
There are approximately 1,600 special education students across Alger and Marquette counties, and a little over 9,000 students total. If the millage is approved, Smith said it would provide stable funding for special education while also freeing up general fund dollars.
“There are two positives that would come out of this Special Education Millage. One would be to properly fund special education and the other would be to free up general fund dollars that are currently being used to plug that budgetary shortfall. So as general fund dollars are freed up, local school districts will be able to decide how best to use those dollars to impact all students,” said Smith.
If approved, the millage would cost the average homeowner in Alger and Marquette counties 42 cents a day, based on a home value of $200,000. To learn more about MARESA’s Special Education Millage, click here. To find out what will be on your ballot for the May 2 election, you can visit michigan.gov/vote.