As the election season is upon us, I wanted to share some information with the community regarding how special education is funded, and also present an opportunity that is available for Eaton County residents on November 7th, or earlier if you vote by absentee ballot.
In Maple Valley, our mission is to “provide a safe and secure environment with enriching experiences that cultivate learning”. This goal is for all students, including those with educational and emotional challenges that are supported with special education programming. We educate students across both Barry and Eaton counties, and our Eaton Regional Education Service Agency (ERESA) is the entity that provides supplemental Special Education programming for all of our students. Special Education provisions are protected by law to be provided for our students who qualify for those services. This is absolutely critical to ensure our students receive the support that they need. Unfortunately, despite the mandated legislation to provide these important services, federal, state and local special education revenues underfund Eaton RESA service area programs for special needs students by nearly $6.1 million dollars annually. Even the most recent state legislative budgets still do not fully fund special education programs. Because of this shortfall, local districts must use general education funds to pay for Special Education programs and services. Therefore, Maple Valley Schools is partnering with other ERESA districts (Grand Ledge, Eaton Rapids, Charlotte, and Potterville) to communicate information about the upcoming 2023 Special Education Millage Information. The Maple Valley School Board unanimously voted to support a resolution to endorse this millage for the benefit of all of our Maple Valley Students.
Within our district, our millage rate in BOTH Barry and Eaton Counties is much lower than our surrounding counties. And yet, the cost to educate a student with special needs and provide tools that support their learning has increased significantly since the Eaton county millage was passed in 1985. Therefore, a county wide special education millage has been placed on the November ballot.
- The proposed millage increase of .9 mils would collect approximately $3 million per year across our county.
- This would bring in approximately $226,727 a year for 10 years for a total of $2.2 million for Maple Valley Public Schools.
- This would return close to $248 of annual funding per pupil to Maple Valley general education classrooms.
- The proposed millage increase would cost homeowners approximately $7.50/month or $90/year whose property has a taxable value of $100,000 (market value of $200,000).
I am inspired by the amount of energy, commitment and support our community has for our students. I am hoping that Eaton county residents consider this millage as it would make a huge difference for all of our students. For more details about the millage, go to www.eatonresa.org. Thank you for researching this topic, and please vote on November 7, 2023!
Together we make a difference to pay if forward for our children!