Dexter Community Schools officials will consider endorsing the Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s (WISD) proposed $22 million special education millage to financially support the county’s efforts to deliver education to its special needs students.
There are 6,500 special needs students — one in seven — throughout the county and its nine school districts that are WISD constituents.
The millage proposal will be on the May 3 ballot. Voters will be asked to approve a 1.5 mill increase above and beyond the already existing Special Education Millage which currently raises $57 million annually.
The proposed millage increase would be levied through to 2025 and would amount to an additional $75 per year in taxes per $100,000 of the market value of a primary residence. Taxable value is based on half of a home’s market value.
The total cost of special education in Washtenaw County is $121 million, only $40 million of which is covered by funds from the state of Michigan, according to documents provided to DCS officials for inclusion in the packet issued to board members for the tonight’s 7 p.m. meeting at Creekside Intermediate School.
The WISD materials also state that “(a)pproximately $22 million per year, which would offset the $24 million in general fund money that local public school districts must divert from general education programs.”
County taxpayers have been filling in the large gap left by a dearth of state funding since 1971, when the WISD constructed its first facility dedicated to serving special education students.
As services for special education students advanced in Washtenaw County, voters again voted to increase funding to special education provision in 1993 and again in 2004, according to the WISD website.
In recent years WISD educators have made it common for special education students to be integrated into mainstream classrooms accompanied by helpers who guide and support them in pursuing their education alongside their peers from all areas of the student population.
See the below embedded document for the complete materials provided by the WISD to Dexter Community Schools officials.