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Kent ISD millage proposal set for May 2nd vote

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Kent County voters will head to the polls this Tuesday to vote on a new Kent Intermediate School District Millage. The proposed property tax increase would help funding in 20 school districts in the county. 

“Everyone benefits from a strong education system, and well educated students," Ron Koehler, the Kent ISD Assistant Superintendent said. "Good schools increase property values, and well educated students help our local democracy, and they also build our local economy by helping businesses grow.”

The Kent ISD is hoping voters will approve a Regional Enhancement Millage on the May 2 election ballot to help fund local school districts. If Kent County voters approve the 10-year, 0.9-mil proposal, it will give the 20 ISD school districts across the county close to an additional $20 million dollars in funding.

“Under state law, this is the only opportunity local districts have to receive funding to staff classrooms. How it would work is this, the dollars would be collected by Kent ISD, and distributed 100% on a per pupil basis, to the 20 public school districts Kent ISD serves,” Koehler said.

However, the Grand Rapids Taxpayers Association strongly opposes the millage. President Michael Farage says not only is the Kent ISD already well funded, but many taxpayers are stretched thin as is.

“It is a strong belief among our group who believe for some this is about their tenth tax increase in I believe in about two years," Farage said. "Property tax increase, and that they simply couldn’t afford it. It was based on that we made a decision to oppose and to actually fight the Kent ISD millage.”

Koehler’s response? It’s a lack of state funding that makes the millage necessary.

“I don’t think we can afford failing schools," Koehler said. "But if I were one who had concern about the growth in local property taxes, I would look to Lansing, and tell my Legislators that our schools are underfunded, and ask that the state fufill the promise of Proposal A, which was passed by the voters in 1994, and fully fund our schools so that our students can succeed.”

In the meantime, voters will vote on the Kent ISD vote this Tuesday.

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