Residents to cast votes for Operating Millage on Nov. 5

When area voters head to the polls on Nov.5, on of the proposals ask them to cast their vote for the Fenton Area Public Schools Operating Millage Renewal Proposal.

“Every school year, we have a $30 million budget that pays for everything; one of the biggest priorities to pay for are the teaching staff, and cafeteria staff and hallway aids,” Superintendant Timothy Jalkanen said. “If the ballot is not renewed, we would have to greatly reduce all areas including staff, some supplies or sports that I believe we need.”

If the millage is not renewed, it will cost Fenton Area Public Schools $4.2 (14 percent of the districts total budget). Because salaries are the largest part of the budget, according to Jalkanen there is a possibility that a way to deal with the ballot not being renewed would be to reduce the number of workers, coaches or sports teams.

“Our supplies budget was cut a few years back when the state cut funding to schools; since then, social studies teachers only have $20 a year for supplies,” Social Studies Chair Patricia Gray said. “We stopped purchasing tissues at this time which affected students directly; we also had to start spending $100 per year with our own money for supplies so I can definitely say if they have to cut funding again, we will have to spend a lot more money out of our pockets.”

This proposal is not a tax increase; an identical act is already in place and has been since 1995. There will be no change from the current millage. The community pays property tax that is sent to Lansing, and then the money is distributed to schools.

“Something very important that residents need to know is that homeowners are exempt from the millage unless they have a second home,” Jalkanen said. “Only businesses and any sort of extra house like a beach house, cottage or cabin are subject to the millage.”