Ann Arbor Public Schools officials believe they now have all the information they're going to get from the state around the proposed annexation of Whitmore Lake Public Schools. Community members supporting and opposing the plan still have plenty of questions.
Questions around tax implications, how the cultures of the two districts would blend, and how much the state government can be trusted were raised at Ann Arbor Public Schools first community forum on annexation. Lee Redding sees benefits for the Whitmore Lake community, but also sees Ann Arbor's per pupil funding declining while his tax bill will increase slightly. "Yes we're getting the more money but it stays up in Whitmore Lake from what I can tell. So again I look at as an Ann Arbor parent to be honest, and I see it not helping and actually hurting a little bit the Ann Arbor schools," Redding says.
The state legislature is set to consider a proposal to boost funding by $50 per pupil if the annexation is approved, but that decision won't be made until after next month's election.
Even residents that support the proposal have questions. Todd Chamberlain thinks the plan is good for both Ann Arbor and Whitmore Lake and is leaning towards voting for annexation. But he wants a bit more information. "Such as the appraised values of the buildings and what the net value of the $1.8 million would be coming in over and above what expenses would be. Especially raising them up to Ann Arbor's taxes," Chamberlain says.
School Board president Deb Mexicotte says this meeting highlighted what facts community members want. This includes focusing on how the annexation creates extra per pupil funding from the state, and the total tax bill impact.