Michigan school districts have more than a few tricks up their sleeves.
Or maybe how it might end?
What we see in proposed legislation by Michigan State Senator Darwin Booher is a natural extension of what happens to a legislator’s mind in Lansing. Senate bill 481 attempts to modify the “Recreational authorities act;” 2000 PA 321, so that school districts can then create their own ‘authority,’ build facilities, and hit the taxpayers for up to a mil with yet another creative tool of extortion.
Why would school’s need such a thing you ask? Why would a school district want, or need to create a new agency that can generate new revenue for pools, entertainment complexes, sports venues, etc?
Hilarious question, right? However, as has been pointed out before, the formula (post proposal A) has changed. Very much.
“Underneath the perceived troubles in funding public education is an emerging reality. Because of the nature of taxpayer funding, and the struggle for local school districts to grab their ‘fair share’ of Michigan’s education budget pie, expenses that were once built into operating budgets are now separated from them, and allowed to be levied through millage requests. These building fund requests allow for purchase of new infrastructure, equipment, and maintenance.
Unfortunately, once the funding had begun in this direction, it quickly became a running operative mechanism that allowed all manner of abuse to begin. Routine maintenance became the recipient of improvement monies, and improvement requests increased to fund facilities that went beyond necessary functionality. The latest request including a component that would have built a $26.5 million performing arts facility. (including all aspects of construction) The proposal for a declining student population at a cost of was easily declined by voters.”
All of what used to be covered under simple operations cost, has been partitioned into new funding paradigms.
Given the reticence of voters to blindly offer up their sacrifice to school district mismanagement through bonds and specific education project approvals, the next step for the bureaucratic mind is to seek shelter inside of a new authority. From where else could government hide, yet still reap a windfall of taxpayer largess? Why lookie here:
Sec. 12. If a majority of electors in each of the participating municipalities of the authority voting on the question of a tax as provided in section 11 approve the tax, the authority shall consider offering preferences or benefits for the residents of the participating municipalities that include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
(a) Discounted admission fees.
(b) Discounted membership fees.
(c) Discounts for school children.
(d) Access to educational programs.
So offer a perk to Joe Citizen;“you get a discount for supporting our most recent boondoggle!”
And money is fungible. A line added to soothe those who pretend to desire fiscal responsibility in the legislature:
“(4) The proceeds of a tax levied under this section shall only be used for those purposes described in subsection (1) and shall not be used for any general fund purposes by any participating municipality.”
Certainly. Whatever you say.
And why might Darwin Booher be the guy? Are schools in HIS district looking to overcome public sentiment and limits set by a tax weary public? One might think so, but in all likelihood, one might also find a more realistic answer in the largest school district north of Grand Rapids.
Booher is in the district adjacent to the 37th which TCAPS resides. Perhaps even Wayne Schmidt realized he couldn’t sponsor such a potential for self screwing of, and by the constituents.
However, he would likely vote for it.
H/T Brian Kroll