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Staffing, enrollment are discussed at White Lake
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Questions about enrollment and staffing sparked an informational meeting at the White Lake School Tuesday, held to discuss the upcoming April 1 spending referendum.

District Administrator Bill Fisher walked the dozen-plus people in attendance through the details of the plan, which would allow the district to spend $250,000 above state-imposed revenue caps for each of the next three years.

“It went very well,” Fisher said, explaining that the meeting was designed to present accurate information about the plan, which is a continuation of spending cap overrides that have been in place for the past 13 years.

The referendum dollars would replace a $200,000, three-year revenue cap override approved in April, 2011 that is expiring this year, and will be used to maintain existing programs.

The cost is estimated at 95 cents per $1,000 of equalized valuation. That means that the owner of a $100,000 home could expect to see taxes for the school increase by $95 if the plan is successful. Twenty-nine cents of that increase is the additional $50,000 being sought. The remaining 66 cents is due to other factors, including increased enrollments that are allowing the district to spend more under state-imposed limits and state aid payments that are declining 15 percent. That’s forcing more of the costs on local taxpayers.

White Lake school district residents currently pay $11.48 per $1,000 of valuation. If the plan succeeds, the rate will climb to $12.43. If it fails, that amount would fall to $10.92.

Fisher stressed that mill rates have been declining in recent years. Even with the approval, voters in the district will be paying just 43 cents more per $1,000 of equalized valuation than in 2010.

Fishers aid that voters sought some clarifications about the size and scope of the referendum, which will be used to maintain existing programs, and enrollments, which are projected to be stable or slightly growing.

“We have a transient population,” Fisher said. “Those enrollment numbers can fluctuate throughout the year, and they do.”

There were also questions regarding staff, with Fisher focused on the need to hire and retain teachers.

“Otherwise we end up being a training ground for new teachers and that can be detrimental for education,” he said.

The administrator plans a similar session with members of the White Lake American Legion Post on Thursday, and the White Lake village board on March 11.

Voters seeking more information are also invited to contact the school.

“We’re off to a good start,” he said.


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White Lake District Administrator Bill Fisher speaks to people attending an referendum informational meeting Tuesday.
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