Recently, Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) have begun to ask voters for what is known as a regional enhancement millage. All voters in an ISD are asked to approve the millage. It is time to make local millage dollars accessible to charter schools.
Like the other local millages, if a majority of voters approve the millage, all residents of the ISD, regardless of how they voted or if they have kids in school, are taxed based on the value of their property. The funds go to the ISD where they are aggregated and then distributed on a per pupil basis to only the traditional school districts. There is no limitation on how schools in the ISD can spend these funds, and they can supplement their operating funds to cover things like technology, security, and even salaries. Charter schools, again, are prohibited by law from receiving any of this revenue, and must pay for all of their needs out of their per pupil foundation allowance (or a small portion of federal funds if they quality).
The six ISDs that currently have a regional enhancement millage are Wayne RESA, Kent ISD, Kalamazoo RESA, Midland ESA, Muskegon Area ISD and Monroe County ISD. The voters in Wayne RESA (the Wayne Co ISD) recently approved a regional enhancement millage that amounts to an additional $385 per kid that the Detroit Community School District and all other Wayne Co traditional school districts receive, and no charter school student is eligible for that additional funding. Kent ISD recently passed a $211 regional enhancement millage.
SB 574 (introduced by Senator Hildenbrand) would allow charter schools to share in the revenue generated from the regional enhancement for those passed after the bill is enacted. It would not unfortunately allow schools in ISDs that already passed it to immediately share in it, but it would resolve it for the future.
MAPSA believes all students should be funded equitably, no matter income or zip code, especially when it comes to public education.