Despite Low Turnout and Lukewarm Local Support, County Voters Approve Special Education Millage

 05/03/2016 - 23:38

This map from the Washtenaw County website shows which communities supported (green) the tax proposal and which were opposed (red).

The few voters in Saline who turned out to vote weren’t especially keen on it, but county voters approved the 1.5-mill property tax increase proposed by the Washtenaw County Intermediate School District.

The 10-year tax was proposed to fund education for students with disabilities.

With all but Salem Township reporting, voters approved the proposal with 59 percent of the vote, 19,071-13,072.

In the City of Saline, voting was mixed, with 578 voting yes and 541 voting now. In many of the surrounding townships, the proposal was voted down.

  Yes No Yes % Turnout %
Saline 1&2 417 357 54 17.9
Saline 3 161 184 47 13.1
York 2&3 257 338 43 17.8
Lodi 1, 2 &3 320 540 37 18
Saline Twp 56 132 30 11.9
Pittsfield 7&9 389 258 60 11.7
Pittsfield 1 135 98 58 8.8
Pittsfield 8 192 195 50 13
Saline Totals 1927 2102 47.8 14.5
County Totals 19071 13072 59.3 12

The tax increase should provide Saline Area Schools with close to $2.8 million annually. In March, Saline Area Schools Superintendent Scot Graden told the Board of Education that if the tax was passed, the WISD would nearly fully reimburse the county’s school districts for what they spend on special education. The district is spending about $2.8 million on special education this year.

With $2.8 million coming from the WISD, the district could now spend that money to lower class size, improve special education or pad the district’s rainy day fund.

Around the county, the existing WISD special education tax funds about 49 percent of $121 million cost of special education. Federal and state funds pay for about 34 percent of the programs. Local districts cover the shortfall.

Although Saline voters were cool to the proposal, the district will get more money than it will be taxed. Saline district taxpayers would pay about $2.1 million in property taxes annually and receive $2.8 million in reimbursements from the WISD, based on current figures. This is in contrast to traditional public school funding, where the district only receives about 70 cents for every local tax dollar sent to the state, Graden said.

The owner of a $200,000 home will pay an additional $150 a year in taxes.


Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore founded The Saline Post on Aug. 15, 2012. Follow him on Twitter at @tranlongmoore. Follow The Saline Post @thesalinepost. Follow The Saline Post on Facebook by clicking here.