By BOB OLIVER
HEIGHTS — District 7 is looking for support from the community when residents go to the polls May 6 to vote whether or not to renew a millage for the district.
On the ballot is an option to renew 18 mills of tax on non-homestead property, which applies to local businesses, industrial and commercial property or non-primary residences.
The proposal equals $18 of tax for every $1,000 of taxable value of the property.
If approved the millage would last for 10 years beginning in 2015.
D7 Supt. Jeffrey Bartold said the operating millage generates about $1.1 million in revenue for the district annually and that a “no” vote means that the district loses the money and will not be compensated for it by the state.
“The state assumes that all school districts levy the 18 mills, which are the maximum allowed under Proposal A, and subtracts that amount from each district’s per pupil allowance,” Bartold said. “For our district that’s $450 per pupil for operational costs like textbooks, classroom supplies, faculty salaries and building operations that we would lose if the millage renewal does not pass.”
Bartold said there are about 2,700 students in D7 and that although the amount of money generated by the millage is less than what is collected in other local districts, it is still important for the district’s budget.
He said he hopes local business owners will remember that the district is looking for a renewal and not an increase and that the millage would have no tax impact to homeowners of primary residences.
He said the district also has been working to control its operational costs and expects to pull itself from a $1.4 million deficit in the next year.
“We have made huge cuts to lower our expenditures, such as closing the Madison Elementary School building, renegotiating teacher contracts and eliminating some administrative positions,” Bartold said. “We have been tightening our belts financially over the last few years.”
Bartold said the district sent out a flyer with millage information on it to residents and that a community forum has been scheduled for at 6 p.m. Wednesday inside the Polk Elementary School Media Center, 4651 Polk St.
“We will be available to answer any questions and to provide any input we can to the community,” Bartold said. “We really hope everyone who can attend will come out to the forum and then lend us support in the upcoming special election.”
City Clerk Walter Prusiewicz said the voting precincts for the election will be 23 through 27 and that absentee ballots are available at his office inside City Hall, 6045 Fenton, for those who will not be able to make it to their precinct to vote on May 6.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected].)