What could be the final year for cash strapped Whitmore Lake Public Schools is underway. In November voters in Ann Arbor and Whitmore Lake will decide if annexation plans move forward. Whitmore Lake residents still have lots of questions.
What are the benefits to both districts, what are the details of how an annexation will work, and of course what are the tax implications are the questions Whitmore Lake Public Schools officials are hearing most frequently.
Superintendent Kim Hart says the district is trying to answer these questions as completely and accurately as possible. She says the biggest benefit for Whitmore Lake kids will be additional programs and services that the district hasn't been able to afford for the last several years.
As far as the tax implications, right now it appears Whitmore Lake residents will see a slight decrease. Hart describes it as the cost of a trip to McDonalds for a family of four. While there are plenty of questions Hart says the focus so far this year remains on the students. "It's really so new into the school year that we really haven't had to go too much into depth with that because we're still getting kids on the right buses and making sure that they're all happy and doing well in their classrooms," Hart says.
Whitmore Lake officials are also looking to Lansing for assistance. Hart says additional per pupil funding and more than one year to pay off bond debts are changes they're looking for from the state. "We're making sure that we explore all options and if something comes up with treasury or something is better with a bill we'll take whatever route seems to work best, and that we can get accomplished in the timeline that we have," she says.
State Representative Adam Zemke from Ann Arbor expects legislation to boost per-pupil funding will be introduced this week. It will ensure the blended per-pupil funding level doesn't decrease for Ann Arbor students. He says legislation on the debt issue needs clarification from treasury but could also be introduced this week.