Carman-Ainsworth disappointed in millage defeat

FLINT TWP. — Officials in the Carman-Ainsworth Community School District said they are disappointed the millage ballot proposals from May 7 didn’t receive enough votes to pass.

Voters rejected a 1-mill increase in the district’s sinking fund, potentially generating $750,000 a year from 2019 to 2023; and a Headlee Amendment override not to exceed 2.1314 mills that would have generated $45,000 a year for the same period.

The vote against the sinking fund issue was 821-1,197, while voters nixed the Headlee Amendment override by a 931-1,085 vote.

Superintendent Eddie Kindle said that while he is disappointed in the failed measures, he understands voters were concern about the economics involved.

“I’m disappointed it didn’t pass, but we did a good job of providing the most accurate info we could,” he said. “I understand the economics. This is just going to extend the gap of time to address the concerns we talked about.”

Those concerns, he said, were security issues at all the Carman- Ainsworth buildings. The district was asking for a sinking fund increase, citing the district’s plans to install more than 300 quick action locks on classrooms throughout Carman- Ainsworth’s school buildings.

Voters approved the current 18-mill operating millage and 0.5-mill sinking fund in 2004 and renewed them in 2013. However, since 2004, officials said revenue has decreased by nearly 30 percent; that means the district receives $141,000 less today than it did in 2004.

Assistant Superintendent Russ Parks said the administration hasn’t had a chance to talk about the millage failure with the Board of Education to determine the next course of action.

“We don’t know if we’ll come back for another vote,” said Parks. “It is kind of up in the air.”

Kindle said the district has fortunately saved up the money for some building improvements to be done this summer, but for beyond this year plans to improve security at the individual school buildings will be delayed.

“We don’t have the money to do the locks,” said Parks. “That time is going to be extended.”

Parks said the current operating millage is 18-mills, but the district currently does not receive the full amount because the rate is reduced when annual growth on existing property is greater than the rate of inflation, due to the Headlee Override Proposition.

A Headlee override would have returned the millage to the 18 mills originally authorized by the community. Restoring the levy to the full 18 mills could have generated an additional $45,000 a year, said Parks.

Carman-Ainsworth has 18 mills, that generates approximately $6,450,000 in revenue, but in 2018, a Headlee Override reduced mills by .1314, losing $45,000 in revenue, he said.

Going forward, without the Headlee Override which was turned down by voters, the district stands to lose another $117,000 next year.

“We gave out more information than we ever had before,” said Parks. “We’re disappointed people didn’t come out for the town hall meeting. It was very low turnout. Most of the people who came were supporters.”

Kindle and Parks said they are still analyzing the failed millage and override and will make a full report to the board soon. It was not on the most recent agenda from the May 21 meeting.