On May 2, voters in the Kent Intermediate School District will be asked to decide whether or not to approve a 0.9 mill increase to their property taxes for 10 years. The tax means that the homeowner of $100,000 of taxable property will pay an addition $900 over the length of the tax. Of course, we will be asked to renew it in ten years which will be billed not as a tax increase but simply a renewal that won’t raise your taxes at all.
Kent County Taxpayers Alliance recommends a NO vote on this measure because of the following:
- There is no significant shortage of school funding to our schools in Kent County. Per-pupil spending from 2012-2015 has increased in all but three school districts. The increases average 10.58%.
- Superintendent salaries are far outside of the range of most working and professional families in Kent County. Aside from Kent City schools, all heads of the school systems make at $183,000 per year with the superintendents of Grand Rapids, Rockford, Forest Hills, and KISD making $329,000, $297,000, $281,000, and $258,000 respectively.
- That Grand Rapids superintendent pay of $329,000 is a 37% increase over the 2012 pay of $240,000.
- The tax will be unevenly distributed between the school districts as those districts with higher property values may end up providing far more tax revenue than they receive back for their district.
- The school districts have been engaging in propaganda which we feel is inappropriate and against the spirit of the state election laws. This video produced with taxpayer money minimizes the cost to homeowners while pointing out an imaginary shortfall of inflationary funding. The “funding gap” cited is from an organization hired to prove funding gaps and put pressure on legislators to spend more on education. Proponents of this tax increase should not be able to use public sources to pay for support and should use the usual campaign finance process that everyone else has to use.
- Affordable housing is in short supply in Kent County and increasing property taxes will make it even harder for struggling working families, refugees, and young adults to find a place to call home.
Our belief at KCTA is that the school districts are proposing too large a request of taxpayers at a time when schools have not done an adequate job of controlling costs at the administrative level. The tax also is an inefficient way to fund school districts as there will undoubtedly be net losers and winners in this tax scheme since property values vary so much between districts across Kent County.
We urge you to vote NO May 2 on the KISD tax hike. Please distribute this fact sheet to your friends and family and share on social media.