FAQ: How Can School Districts Raise Funds Without Raising Taxes?

I received a great question in my e-mail a few days ago about new funding without new taxes. How is this possible?

As we have mentioned before, school improvement bonds are the vehicle that school districts use to pay for major construction and improvement projects. Often, in order to raise the necessary funds to complete projects, districts ask voters to approve an increase to the existing millage rate (i.e. a higher rate of taxation on properties).

There are times, however, that school districts require less mills to retire the current bonded debt that is on the books. A major reason for this is an increase in the taxable value of properties that occurs over time. As taxable values increase, the rate at which properties must be taxed decreases.

A recent example is the $36.8 million school improvement bond that passed in Imlay City Schools in 2019. The bond passed and the millage rate for Imlay City Schools residents stayed at the same rate (6.5 mills).

Our current rate in Lapeer Community Schools is the lowest in Lapeer County (2.75 mills). If the bond passses, the rate would remain at that level and likely actually decrease to 2.65 mills.

Here’s the information directly from the ballot language:

The annual debt millage required to retire all bonds of the School District currently outstanding and proposed pursuant to this ballot is expected to be at or below 2.65 mills which is a 0.10 mill decrease from the 2.75 mills of annual debt millage levied in 2021. The maximum number of years any series of bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of refunding, is not more than twenty-four (24) years; the estimated millage that will be levied to pay the proposed bonds in the first year is 1.18 mills (which is equal to $1.18 per $1,000 of taxable value); and the estimated simple average annual millage that will be required to retire each series of bonds is 1.55 mills annually ($1.55 per $1,000 of taxable value).

For more information, e-mail Jared Field at jared.field@lapeerschools.org.

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