BY JAMES DYER
Twenty-nine years ago, Schoolcraft asked its community for a 0.5 mill increase. It was approved by the voters and brought success to the school and the community. Since 2008, the college has seen property tax revenues decrease by 22 percent, making it so that over the course of the past seven years, the school has lost more than 29 million dollars in property tax income. Schoolcraft is now asking voters for an additional 0.6 million over a ten year period. If granted the millage, Schoolcraft has high hopes for the future of its students and community.
What does Schoolcraft plan to do with the money?
Schoolcraft will continue to improve; providing even more excellent programs and services to students, community members, and local businesses and industry. The school hopes to expand the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math programs and add more K-12 programs and partnerships with universities, such as Wayne State and the University of Toledo, which are already on campus. Lastly, they hope to reduce student debt through new financial aid opportunities.
What will occur if the voters don’t approve?
Schoolcraft will have to delay technological and capital advancements, and the school’s degree completion efforts will be challenged. The school’s completion rate as of today is 61 percent. Schoolcraft tops all other community colleges in the state in this aspect and is ranked fifth on the list compared to 4-year universities in Michigan. It will also be unlikely that services for students will be expanded, including efforts to lessen the cost burden on students through additional financial aid options.
How do students gain from the proposal?
It helps with financial aid and support services that are provided to students. The school must stay funded to maintain its high success rate within the state..
How would it it benefit the community?
Close to 23,000 members participated in the Continuing Education and Professional Development classes at Schoolcraft last year, and over 85 percent of Schoolcraft graduates stay in area to help the economy. Additionally, the school has helped over 700 local companies to help grow their businesses, also improving the economy.
Lastly, for every dollar put into Schoolcraft from the community, the school returns $2.80 in the form of higher tax receipts and avoided costs. It totals to a rough estimate of $511.4 million regional income annually.
When does this election take place?
The polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The requirements to vote include being a U.S. Citizen, at least 18 years of age and residence in the Schoolcraft district which includes the school districts of: Livonia, Plymouth-Canton, Clarenceville, Garden City, and Northville. Registration to vote must be completed 30 days before election day, making Oct. 5 the last day to register.
To find more information about the millage, visit www. schoolcraft.edu/millage2015.