Special Education Millage Proposal

Lets Talk about the 2016 Millage 

Meeting Schedule

Upcoming meetings concerning the Special Education Millage will be posted here as information becomes available.

Special Education Millage Proposal May 3, 2016. 

What is the question before voters?
A 1.5 mill increase to cover unreimbursed costs to provide special education services in Washtenaw County.
What is a mill?
The amount of tax payable per thousand dollars of taxable value of a property. 
Why is special education important?
For over 40 years, special education has positively impacted the lives of children with special needs. Local districts are required to provide special education services for students with learning, speech and language, physical, emotional, or mental disabilities up to age 26. The specialized services provided by public schools helps to prepare many students for gainful employment and careers to support themselves and become productive citizens in our communities. 
How many students receive special education services?
Nearly 6,500 students in Washtenaw County public schools, or about 1-in-7, receive some type of special education service. Students in private schools and children who are home schooled are also eligible for services through their local public school district.
What is the cost for special education services?
The cost, countywide, is approximately $121 million annually. The current millage generates $57 million and state and federal funding contributes $40 million toward those expenditures. The funding difference is covered by the general operating funds from each district.

Why not simply cut special education expenses?
Public schools have a federal Maintenance of Effort requirement. If schools do not meet this requirement, they will lose federal special education funding. In short, the Maintenance of Effort requirement stipulates that a district/PSA must spend at least as much in the current year on special education costs as was spent in the previous year on a gross basis or on a per student basis.

How do public school districts and public charter schools fund special education?

Chart Special Education Funding

Why is the millage increase needed now?
The current special education millage does not cover all special education expenditures. Local districts are covering the unreimbursed cost of providing special education services out of limited general fund dollars. The increase will cover approximately 97% of all of the districts’ costs for special education services.

How much revenue will be generated from the millage increase?
The millage increase would generate approximately $22 million per year, which would offset the $24 million in general fund money that local public school districts are currently diverting from general education programs. 

How will the funds be distributed?
Millage dollars are shared by all school districts and public school academies in the county, using a cost reimbursement formula. Students who attend the districts of Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Lincoln, Manchester, Milan, Saline, Whitmore Lake, and Ypsilanti will benefit from this funding, as well as students receiving special education services in charter schools.
How will this financially impact homeowners?
Market Value         Taxable Value         Cost Annually

  • $100,000               $50,000                 $75.00
  • $150,000               $75,000                 $112.50
  • $200,000               $100,000               $150.00


How long will the millage increase be levied?
Through 2025
When is the election?
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

How does the ballot language read?

This proposal will increase the levy by the intermediate school district of special  education millage previously approved by the electors. Shall the 3.8761 mills limitation ($3.8761 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the annual property tax previously approved by the electors of Washtenaw Intermediate School District, Michigan, for the education of students with a disability be increased by 1.5 mills ($1.50 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 10 years, 2016 to 2025, inclusive; the estimate of the revenue the intermediate school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2016  is approximately $22,163,000 from local property taxes authorized herein?

Who is eligible to vote in the election?
Registered voters who reside in the school districts of Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Lincoln, Manchester, Milan, Saline, Whitmore Lake, and Ypsilanti.
Where do I vote?
VOTE! Vote at the same precinct where you vote in general elections. Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. If you are unable to vote in person, absentee ballot applications are available through your township, city, or county clerk offices.  Please see this site for further information:  https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/

Where to obtain more information:
Contact your local superintendent’s office or visit: www.washtenawisd.org/about-us/2016SEM

How can I ask you a question?

To ask a question through our dedicated Let's Talk! page on the Millage.