Enhance millage rejected by voters

Voters overwhelmingly rejected a millage increase proposal Tuesday that would have provided more operating expenses for public schools in Alcona, Alpena and Montmorency counties. The Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational School District millage request of three mills for 10 years was turned down by a 7,433-2,502 margin.

AMA ESD Superintendent Brian Wilmot said the vote was “pretty overwhelming.”

“We knew going into this that it wasn’t a perfect piece of tax law. It was winners versus losers, revenue versus taxation,” he said.

The next steps will be difficult, Wilmot said.

“Each district is going to have to debrief and develop budgets for the next year,” he said. “This will certainly be part of the discussion.

“I just wish there was another clear path, but I don’t know what that would be.”

Alpena Public School Superintendent Brent Holcomb said “the voters have made a statement by not passing the millage.”

“Without the funds it’s going to be our job to make the hard choices,” Holcomb said. “Alpena Public Schools doesn’t have a chance now but to be in deficit. Ultimately, we are going to have to find some way to make it work for the kids.”

The total number of votes cast in the three counties was 9,935 out of 38,742 registered voters.

“It’s good that people are going out and exercising their American right to vote,” Atlanta Superintendent Don Haskin said. “I think the thing that bothered people the most was the length, and with the economy struggling right now, they don’t know what could happen in 10 years.”

Haskin said Atlanta will keep doing what it can do with what it has.

Hillman Superintendent Shawn Olsen said

“There is no plan B, that was the plan B that Lansing made us take,” Hillman Superintendent Shawn Olsen said, adding she thought the numbers would be closer and was very disappointed in the vote.

“It was there to support our children and our schools,” she said.

Wilmot said the AMA ESD will pay for the costs of holding the special election but didn’t know what the exact figure was.