Metro Detroit voters to decide school funding requests Tuesday

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Voters in several Metro Detroit communities will decide Tuesday on more than a half-billion dollars in school bond requests, millage renewals and other local issues. Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

This is Albert E. Einstein Elementary School, which is part of the Oak Park School District.

In Oakland County, the Oak Park school district is asking voters to approve a $54.4 million, 30-year bond issue for construction and remodeling of school facilities, technology equipment and infrastructure, furniture and site improvements. Four district elementary schools — Einstein, Key, Lessenger and Pepper — would receive mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades, for instance.

If the measure passes, the district would not result in an increase of the 5.98 mills the district collects. The owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 would pay about $300 a year. About 4,000 students attend Oak Park schools.

If approved, the funds can be used for construction and remodeling of school facilities, technology equipment and infrastructure, equipment and furniture and site improvements. Funds cannot be used for salaries or wages; general operating expenses, repairs or maintenance and administrative costs.

“These funds are for much needed facility costs,” said Steve Barr, the district’s chief financial and operations officer. “For example, the money wouldn’t be used to patch a roof but to replace it, or a large section of a roof.”

Northville Public Schools is asking for an operating millage renewal, not to exceed 19.2383 mills for five years, 2022 through 2026. Estimated revenue would be about $10 million in the first year if approved. Taxpayers residing in the Wayne County part of the district also will vote on the renewal.

The West Bloomfield Township school district seeks a 2-mill non-homestead operating millage for four years. Approval is expected to raise $691,139 for operating expenses in 2021.

In the only non-school issue put to voters in Oakland County communities, residents in Franklin will consider a charter amendment that would bar the village council from constructing of any new sidewalks in residential areas, excepting along Franklin and 13 Mile roads.

In Wayne County, seven school districts have funding requests on the ballot. Among them:

Allen Park: A $74.2 million bonding program over the next 30 years to be funded by 1.01 mills.

Dearborn Heights: A $6.4 million building and site proposal to be funded by .89 mills for 20 years.

Livonia: A $186 million bond issue, with 1.37 mills to be levied for 20 years, to equip and furnish educational facilities.

Redford Union: A $59.2 million building and site proposal, to be funded by 2.15 mills over 30 years.

Romulus Community: A 0.5-mill increase for operations for 10 years, expected to raise $10.2 million a year.

South Redford: A $79.9 million, 30-year bond issue to construct, develop, equip and furnish buildings.

Woodhaven-Brownstown: A $144 million, 30-year bond issue to erect, furnish and equip buildings. 

Voters in some Wayne County communities also will decide among candidates for local offices.

Wyandotte residents will choose between Mayor-pro tem Robert DeSana and Frank Tarnowski for mayor for the next four years. In other nonpartisan races, 11 candidates are vying for six city council seats: Robert K. Alderman; Nick Beaven; Chris Calvin; Kaylan Crayne; Eric A. Dodson; Todd Hand; Michael Izbicki; Don Schultz; Rosemary Shuryan; Kelly Stec; and Richard J. Symczevk. 

In Macomb County, taxpayers of Memphis Community Schools will decide an operating millage of up to 18 mills for 10 years (2022-31), with expected revenue of $1.4 million in 2022. A sinking fund question for Memphis schools of 1 mill for five years will also be decided for the purpose of purchasing real estate and construction or repair of buildings, buying school security equipment and upgrading technology. Approval of the sinking fund issue is expected to raise $247,000 in 2022.

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