Following on the heels of major wins for local school funding in March, this past Tuesday’s local elections saw nearly all funding measures pass amidst huge absentee voter turnout.
Of 36 local school millage and bond votes on the ballot Tuesday, only two lost. The biggest win of the day was the overwhelming renewal the Kalamazoo regional enhancement millage, continuing an additional $12.5 million per year for districts in the area. School measures passed in every area of the state: from Metro Detroit’s Warren Woods, to West Michigan’s Muskegon and Grand Haven districts, to Northern Michigan’s Charlevoix-Emmet ISD (where a special education millage was renewed).
Due to the coronavirus outbreak and the State Home Stay Safe order, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson sent absentee voter applications to everyone eligible to vote in a May 5 election. The vast majority of Tuesday’s voters took advantage, with early reports from some areas showing more than 95 percent of ballots were cast by voting from home.
While not at those levels driven by the public health crisis, absentee voting was also up significantly in the March election, which included Michigan’s presidential primary. Many school measures were also on the ballot March 10, including another enhancement millage passed, this time in Macomb County. Passing with 57 percent of the vote, the 10-year millage will generate more than $400 per student for school districts across the county.
Another big March win happened in Flint, where the community overwhelmingly approved the restructuring of a current tax into a sinking fund and bond combination that allows for physical investments in the district while paying down the district’s debt in only 7 years (as opposed to 18). Both measures passed with more than 65% of the vote.