West Shore ESD Looking for Voters to Renew Special Education Millage in May 4 Election

West Shore Educational Service District (ESD) is looking for voters to renew their special education millage at the May 4 election.

“Voters in Mason, Lake, and Oceana county will have the opportunity to decide whether or not the plan to continue to support a one mill levy for students in special education across the three county area,” said Dr. Jason Jeffrey, the West Shore Educational Service District Superintendent. “One in six students who attend school here qualify for special education, which is about 1,400 students in total.”

Mason County Eastern has 37 students who have special needs and about 100 students in their district who utilize their center-based programs.

“We have students that have IEP, so they’re special education students within our district,” said Mason County Eastern Superintendent Paul Shoup. “We also house two classrooms that are part of the West Shore ESD.”

The district is just one of nine that relies on West Shore ESD’s special education millage.

“There are three main points to this referendum,” said Dr. Jeffrey. “Special education programs, special education services and then cash reimbursements for each of the nine local school districts within our ESD.”

The ESD has 16 programs that are housed within the local school districts.

“The programs are things that happen in traditional classrooms, usually with groups of students,” said Dr. Jeffrey. “Services are things that typically happen for students individually and so an example of a special education service would be speech therapy, perhaps, physical therapy, occupational therapy.”

The ESD is asking voters to pass the same measure they approved in years past: one mill over eight years, or $100 a year for a home with a $100,000 taxable value.

“Not every school district in the state of Michigan has special ed millages that take care of this, many schools would have to would be billed for those services that the ESD provides,” said Shoup. “That’s a huge financial help for our district.”

Categories: Michigan This Morning