This month the MAISD board passed two important resolutions, the first in support of Proposal 1 which will appear on the May 5, 2015 ballot, and the second in support of establishing the Muskegon Area Promise Scholarship. Proposal 1 amends the state constitution to increase the sales/use tax from 6% to 7% to replace reduced revenue to the School Aid Fund and local units of government caused by the elimination of the sales/use tax on gasoline and diesel fuel.
Proposal 1 will provide additional money for roads by increasing the gas tax and vehicle registration fees. In short, Proposal 1 simplifies the funding system by dedicating $1.2 billion in fuel taxes to roads and other transportation purposes, and increasing the portion of sales taxes to support schools, community colleges, and career and technical education. The end result would mean an additional $300 million for the School Aid Fund plus $100 million for cities and municipalities.
If the law does not pass, there is no “Plan B.” Prior to introducing Proposal 1, Michigan's House of Representatives approved a plan to repair Michigan’s roads through cuts to neighborhood schools and local government. The plan would decrease the amount of sales tax that could go to schools and local government. Based on the House Fiscal Agency’s analysis, the result would be a $725 million annual average decrease to the School Aid Fund or about $400 per student over the next nine years. (To learn more about Proposal 1 visit Muskegon County Matters http://www.muskegonisd.org/about/matters/).
The board also approved a resolution to support fundraising efforts to launch the Muskegon Area Promise Scholarship. The goal is to raise $250,000 by May 15, 2015, to fund scholarships for eligible students who hold a 3.5 GPA and live in and graduate from a district located within MAISD boundaries. The scholarships will help fund an associate’s degree or certificate program at Muskegon Community College or Baker College. A community-wide fundraising campaign called “Let’s Get to Work! Our Change, Our Kids” will be launched soon. A challenge match campaign is also being crafted that will work to enhance the community contribution effort.
Please pay close attention to each of these critical initiatives and consider how you might lead the discussion with colleagues, friends, and family members on these issues.
Dr. John Severson
Muskegon Area ISD Superintendent