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Vicksburg administrator describes May 3 millage

Discarded Juul Pods are a new form of litter. Vicksburg Community Schools joined a class-action suit against the manufacturer, alleging that their marketing specifically targets young people.

By Jef Rietsma

Vicksburg Community Schools Assistant Superintendent Steve Goss took advantage of the district’s March 14 board meeting to emphasize the significance of an tax renewal request on the May 3 ballot.

Goss said district voters will be asked whether to renew a non-homestead operating millage. Board members in January approved a resolution placing the matter on the ballot.

“Many people have probably started to receive absentee ballots, so we want to start getting the word out there,” he said.

Goss said the renewal is for non-homestead properties. It will impact businesses and vacation, rental or seasonal homes within the school district. He said the amount is 18 mills and up for renewal every five years. District voters have supported the renewal every time since it was created in 1994, he said.

“The millage is required in order to collect the full, per-pupil foundation allowance,” he said. “That local share for the non-homestead millage really comprises the first dollars of the per-pupil funding.”

For a matter of perspective, Goss said this year’s per-pupil foundation allowance is $8,700. Without the allowance, the district’s funding would drop to about $7,900 per student.

He said the 18 mills generate about $2.1 million annually.

“I just remind people to vote,” he added. “There probably won’t be a lot of other things on the ballot, so it’s one of those things that’s easy to forget about but it’s important that everybody, regardless of how you feel about it, it’s important to vote.”

In a separate matter, Goss said the district received three bids for electric-service upgrades planned in June 2023 at the middle school. The low bidder was Kalamazoo-based Moore Electric, which submitted a quote of $282,000. Goss said the company indicated a 40-week delay on its ability to secure parts and critical components, explaining the lengthy delay for when the work will be conducted.

In other news, Superintendent Keevin O’Neill recently spent a day and a half with legislators in Lansing. He said conversations ranged from budgets and tax cuts to teacher retention and school funding.

“Also, I was very strong regarding the evaluation requirements and the state, which need to be modified,” he said. “We had some very, very good discussions. However, we have a long way to go.”

He said the state will hold its revenue conference in May, which will give the district a clearer picture of its financial state for the 2022-23 fiscal year starting July 1.

Also during the meeting, the district agreed to join a class-action lawsuit against Juul, maker of electronic cigarettes.

The board also heard an annual report from Indian Lake Elementary Principal Sarah Bacalia. Indian Lake hosted the meeting.

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