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Letter: Support our schools with Wayne RESA millage

The Detroit News

In these unprecedented times, it is critical we renew our support for Wayne County schools because keeping our schools strong is a key part of keeping our community strong (Re: The Detroit News' Oct. 23 editorial, "Vote 'no' on Wayne RESA school millage").

The Wayne RESA Regional Enhancement Millage renewal is on the Nov. 3 ballot. If renewed by voters, this proposal will continue providing critical financial support for local districts faced with state budget cuts and enormous financial challenges during the past four years, and now in the time of COVID-19.

Renewing the regional enhancement millage will help all 33 school districts in Wayne County — and for the first time, charter schools — continue improving the quality of education Wayne County students receive. This millage will continue to help schools lower class sizes, improve technology and security, add valuable STEM and career education programs, make facility improvements and attract talented teachers.

It is critical we renew our support for Wayne County schools, Liepa writes.

The millage helps prepare students for good paying jobs, including the skilled trades, and provides world-class programming for both special education and general education students.

While the current millage does not expire until the end of 2021, school districts across Wayne County requested that Wayne RESA place this renewal on 2020 ballot for a few very important reasons.

When Michigan voters approved Proposal A in 1994, the proposal language specified that Wayne RESA can only place an enhancement millage proposal on an even year election. Waiting until the fall of 2022 to renew the regional enhancement millage would create additional uncertainty for school districts and a lapse in funding.

Renewing this millage now will ensure school districts are not put in a position where they must budget for the 2021-2022 school year unsure if this critical funding will be in place.

Furthermore, placing this renewal on the ballot during a presidential election ensures more Wayne County voters than ever will have the opportunity to vote on this renewal.

Wayne County’s public school districts have been fiscally responsible stewards of the enhancement millage. They have kept their promise to use the enhancement millage wisely, and if passed, this renewal will continue to undergo independent audits and all spending will be tracked on a public website to ensure tax dollars are being spent transparently, wisely and with accountability.

It is more important than ever that we support Wayne County students and give them the opportunity to succeed.

That’s why we need to renew the Regional Enhancement Millage on Nov. 3.

Dr. Randy Liepa, superintendent of Wayne RESA