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Muskegon Heights will vote on renewing millage for privatized public schools

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Lindsey Smith
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Michigan Radio

The emergency financial manager of Muskegon Heights Public Schools is asking voters to renew an operating millage for the next 16 years.

“The outcome of this millage will change the future of Muskegon Heights forever,” says a letter the school district’s emergency financial manager Don Weatherspoon sent home to parents this week.

Weatherspoon privatized the school district so he could focus on paying off its $16 million debt. That debt is mostly owed to the State of Michigan.

The tax would not be on homeowners - it would be paid by businesses and rental owners. It is not a tax increase.  If voters renew the tax, Weatherspoon says it could take up to 20 years to pay off the debt. If not?

"Then it is an unknown future, an uncharted path because the debt collection would be intensified,” Weatherspoon said.  Weatherspoon says if the millage fails in November, homeowners would also be on the hook to pay off the debt, which would need to be paid off quicker, he said.

Weatherspoon has published an informational page about the millage here.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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