Milford board considers 5.6 mill school levy

While the size and scope of a new Milford Schools attempt for an operating levy may be uncertain, the likelihood of seeing one on the November ballot is probably quite certain, said Valerie Miller, Communications Coordinator for Milford Schools.

Last week, Milford schools announced plans to investigate a levy that would, in part, help nullify over $4 million in cuts made after a similar levy failed in May.

“This would replace some of them,” said Miller. “The board went through and looked for what they really needed to come back to ensure the quality of education. They went line by line and decided on what needed to be recovered, so that allowed the board to reduce the levy from 7.9 in May that failed to what they are suggesting now at 5.6 mills.”

Earlier this year, Milford announced a funding shortfall and the necessity to make cuts should the levy fail. After the measure was defeated in May, the board followed through with promises to cut funding to nearly every portion of the school system, including the loss of about 100 jobs and the possible cessation of the popular neighborhood schools program.

The levy itself was placed on the ballot instead of a bond issue for new schools, which Miller said was also vital to the system. Four new elementary schools only recently completed are already opening their doors filled to capacity. The board, said Miller, may make the new levy a combination levy/bond issue.

“There has been no action taken yet as far as what the board is going to do,” said Miller. “The meeting and work session were information gathering sessions and discussion. They haven’t decided yet on doing a levy, or doing a levy combined with a bond issue. The decision to proceed or not or how to proceed has not been made.”

In order to meet an August deadline with the board of elections for filing the issue, the board will need to meet twice within the next three weeks. Miller said that the dates for those special meetings will be on Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. and Aug. 8 at 9 a.m. – both in the board of education office.

The purpose would be to set the exact terms of the issue and ensure that it would raise the necessary amount of funding.

“The first meeting would be to take action on whether they want an operating levy or combination issue and what the millage would be,” said Miller. “Then it would be taken to the auditor’s office for certification to make sure it was the correct solution to generate the right dollar amount. Then, it would come back and they would take the action of saying they want it on the ballot.”