Onaway approves millage ballot language

ONAWAY – Members of the Onaway Area Community Schools Board of Education have agreed on ballot language for renewing the district’s operating millage.

At their Tuesday meeting, board members unanimously approved language asking district voters to renew an 18.6574-mill operating millage for 10 years, board President Sharon Lyon said. The levy provides the district with roughly half of its operating funds. It will be levied on commercial and non-residential property as it has before. Principal residences are excluded from the millage.

The 0.6574 mills is only available to restore money lost as a result of a reduction required by the Headlee Amendment, Lyon said. This part of the Michigan Constitution limits how much in taxes the state and local governments can levy, among other restrictions.

The decision comes two months after the board first considered the question. Superintendent Rod Fullerton said in December the board was considering when to put the question to voters. The previous millage was renewed in 2004, and it provides about $2.2 million per year to the district.

Lyon stressed the millage is a renewal, and when voters go to the polls on May 7, they won’t be asked to levy new taxes for the next 10 years. The district’s current operating millage expires at the end of the 2013 tax levy.

“We figured, for 10 years we wouldn’t have to address it again, it’d be a good idea,” she said.

Many other districts have an operating millage levying a similar amount, if not the same one, Lyon said.

In other business:

  • high school varsity football coach Brian Whitsitt resigned, Lyon said. He informed the board he wished to pursue other things after serving as coach for a year.
  • the district will spend $7,600 to expand its network bandwidth, Lyon said. The network’s current bit-rate is too slow for all of the school computers, so the district will spend federal money allocated for technology improvements to buy the necessary hardware to increase it.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.