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County voters OK Regional Enhancement Millage

Krystle Wagner • Nov 7, 2018 at 12:00 AM

More funding looks to be in the future for public schools and public academies within the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District.

As of press time Tuesday night, the OAISD Regional Enhancement Millage was approved with 62,145 yes votes to 54,566 no, according to unofficial Ottawa County election results. The 10-year millage will levy 0.9 mill and generate about $11.2 million.

The owner of a $100,000 home that has a taxable value of $50,000 or less will pay $45 annually with the new tax.

In a press release, OAISD Superintendent Pete Haines said they were pleased residents recognized and supported the ongoing work to prepare students for success and their full potential.

“It has become common practice for schools throughout our region to collaborate for the greater good of our students and families, and this is just one more example of the cooperative culture that exists in the Ottawa area,” he said.

In a press release, Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Andy Ingall said local schools have a history of “excellent community support, which is the key to maintaining high-quality educational programs.”

“Our communities have come to expect high standards for both the quality and variety of educational opportunities for area students,” Ingall said. “Schools throughout the Ottawa region continually strive to go above and beyond expectations to offer innovative programs, safe and secure learning environments, and to nurture and meet the diverse needs of each and every student. We are grateful our community members have decided to support us in this mission.”

The millage will impact 11 public school districts and seven public school academies within the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District.

Local districts impacted include Grand Haven Area Public Schools, Spring Lake Public Schools, Walden Green Montessori School, and West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics.

Districts will receive $226 per pupil, which can be spent on operational costs. It will provide at an additional $565,000 for Spring Lake schools and $1.4 million annually for Grand Haven schools.

Previously, Ingall said the district plans to use funding for social-emotional needs, security, maintaining programs and putting more support into programs. Funding would also be used toward college- and career-readiness opportunities.

Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton previously said the district plans to use funds to expand efforts to provide mental health treatment for students, protect programming, address class sizes, maintain infrastructure and create K-12 opportunities for students to be engaged with career-readiness.

Walden Green Montessori School will use the funding to continue its Montessori-based education and foster curriculum, co-interim director Mark Roessing previously said.

West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics Director Joanna Bennink previously said they plan to use the funding in ways such as books, classroom libraries and facility upgrades.

Spring Lake Public Schools proposals

Spring Lake school district voters Tuesday approved the operating millage renewal, 4,429 to 2,203, and the “Headlee override” proposal, 4,071 to 2,476.

The two-year, 18-mill operating millage renewal will generate about $2.91 million, according to the ballot language. The renewal excludes principal residences and other exempt properties.

A “Headlee override” is sought when the taxable value of homes, land and businesses increase faster than the rate of inflation. It allows districts to collect the full 18 mills that voters approve with the operating millage renewal. Districts can’t levy more than 18 mills.

Furton thanked the Spring Lake district voters for their support.

“It never ceases to amaze me that Spring Lake is a community that always seems to place our students and our school system as a priority,” he said.

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