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Wednesday, April 30,2014

Vote Tuesday

Lansing and three other area school districts hold votes on millages Tuesday

by Andy Balaskovitz
Wednesday, April 30 — Voters in the Lansing School District will be asked Tuesday to renew a 20-year millage that provides about $18 million in revenue for operating costs — or about 11 percent percent of the district’s budget.

District officials are adamant that the levy is simply a renewal, not a new tax. They’re also adamant that it could be devastating if not approved, resulting in the loss of 170 teachers and cuts to programs.

“Without it, we can’t afford to operate,” said school board President Peter Spadafore. The money levied each year goes toward “keeping the lights on, paying the teachers — all of the basic operational functions of the district,” he said.

The levy assessed on non-homestead properties — which include industrial and commercial sites, but not principal residences — is just under $18 for each $1,000 of a property’s taxable value.

“The majority of people voting probably don’t pay the tax,” Spadafore said.

The Lansing City Clerk’s Office will open the South Washington Office Complex, 2500 S. Washington Ave. in Lansing, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday for in-person absentee voting. The site also has a 24-hour dropbox for any completed absentee ballots.

The district boundaries extend beyond the city of Lansing, but City Clerk Chris Swope says voters outside of the city but within the district can still vote within the city. For more information on polling locations, visit lansingmi.gov/elections, call (517) 483-4131 or email clerk@lansingmi. gov.

Outside of Lansing, Williamston and Bath school districts are also requesting millage renewals. Williamston is seeking to renew for 10 years a .75-mill levy for public recreation and playgrounds. Bath district voters are being asked to renew a five-year site-sinking fund. Grand Ledge School District has proposed issuing bonds for security and technology improvements as well as replacing temporary classrooms. The bonds would be paid off by raising the millage rate.

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