South Haven schools will hold a special election on June 24 to raise its local option budget.

By James Jordan
The Wellington Daily News

South Haven schools will hold a special election on June 24 to raise its local option budget.

Superintendent John Showman said the schools could raise as much as $60,000 to make up for shortfalls in its budget for the coming school year.

Currently 31 percent of the schools’ budget comes from local property taxes, and if voters approve, that would increase to 33 percent.

“It will be for general operations,” Showman said. “It will make up for reductions in funding.”

Even though a recent State Supreme Court ruling required the state to fund the schools at a higher level, Showman said South Haven schools will likely get 15 percent less than it received in 2008.

Based on projected numbers, he anticipates the district could be in the hole $106,000 next year, so the $60,00 would make up part of that.

Part of this is due to the struggling economy, as the economy effects the valuation of property, and thus the amount government bodies get from property taxes. 

Part of it is also due to state funding, as state officials have said they want to give more control and options to local communities. This means local communities may decide whether to spend more money for local schools.

Even so, property owners in South Haven will likely see a decrease in their property taxes. The state changed the school funding formula somewhat, and the result is less property tax being used to fund schools.

The vote would mean not quite as much of a tax decrease for people in the South Haven school district.

Showman said school officials have also been meeting with South Haven city officials to address the local economy.

They want to find ways to clean up the community, to encourage people to move there. They would also like to find ways to provide lots for people to build houses, as housing is a major problem when people want to move into a rural community.