technology & security millage on february ballot
Voters in Muskegon County will have the opportunity to support a
Technology Enhancement Millage of one mill for a ten-year period on
February 25, 2014. That equates to a $41 annual increase for the average homeowner in
the county. Clearly, there is an urgent need to prepare our children for the many technical
jobs they will have in coming years. One statistic indicates 85% of the jobs that today’s
kindergartners will be working in have not yet been created, or even thought of yet.
Those jobs will require our students to have superior technical skills.
The problem is that the current per-pupil funding for students is even lower than it was
back in 2007 ($7,108 in 2006-07 and $7,026 in 2013-14). When Proposal A was passed
in 1993, changing school funding from property taxes to a percentage of the state sales
tax on products, the school-funding mechanism never considered the expense of
technology because the technological age was just beginning. The Internet, for example,
had yet to be commercialized (1995) and such things as iPads wouldn’t come onto the
market for another 15 years (2010).
We have witnessed rapid changes and advancements in technology and can expect many
more in coming years. Schools have tried their best to keep up with the changes but the
lack of funding has caused most schools to use bond issues to make the changes needed.
The sale of bonds results in interest charges to taxpayers spread out over many years– not
a great way to fund the ever-changing needs of technology. Typically, school districts
only ask their voters to support a bond issue once in a decade and yet equipment becomes
worn and out of date much sooner.
Under current law, Intermediate School Districts are the only school entity that can
request an enhancement millage. The school districts served by the ISD must formally
request the ISD to conduct such a millage. School districts in our county are concerned
about where the funding stream for technology will come from in coming years, and
therefore have formally made that request to the ISD to hold a vote so each student in
local school districts will be able to have the equipment needed to be competitive in the
Each district has differing needs and will individually determine how they will use the
funds for their respective students and classrooms. But technology could mean more than
equipment. These funds could help pay for the technology for security needs such as
cameras or door entrance systems, wireless networks, support services, and trainings for