Gratiot, Isabella counties to vote on joining Mid-Michigan College district

HARRISON—Officials at Mid Michigan College announced that the office of the State Superintendent of Schools has approved allowing the college to present ballot proposals to residents of the Gratiot-Isabella Regional Education Service District to join the Mid Michigan service area.

Proposal I asks voters to determine whether they approve annexation into Mid Michigan College’s district, and Proposal II seeks ratification of a tax in that area of 1.2232 mills, the college’s current operating millage rate.

If both proposals pass, they would lead to effective annexaction of that area to the Mid Michigan College district.

Currently, Mid’s in-district service area consists of the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District. The college receives tax dollars from these residents at a rate of 1.2232 mills, the second-lowest rate of any community college in the state.

While the college has had a campus in Mt. Pleasant for more than 20 years, and serves more students from Isabella and Gratiot counties than from in-district areas, property owners and residents in the GI-RESD are not in Mid Michigan College’s district. Passage of these ballot measures would change that.

If voters adopt both annexation proposals, a home with an assessed taxable value of $50,000 (true market value of $100,000) would pay slightly more than $60 a year.

In exchange, those residents would get the in-district tuition rate of $132 per semester hour, vs. the $220 rate they now pay as out-of-district students. Students taking 30 semester hours per year would save $2,640 a year.

Additionally, residents in the GI-RESD would be eligible to participate in future elections of Mid’s Board of Trustees.

In the 2020 academic year, 39 percent of Mid’s students resided in Isabella and Gratiot counties. Enrollment of Clare-Gladwin county residents was 24 percent. Likewise, more students attend classes at the college’s Mt. Pleasant campus than its in-district location in Harrison.

According to a 2019 study by Economic Modeling LLC, an Idaho-based labor market analytics firm, “Mid also creates a significant positive impact on the business community and generates a return on investment to its major stakeholder groups—students, taxpayers, and society.”

Among the reasons for this claim is that the College supports one out of every 43 jobs and contributes a total of $69.2 million in economic impact. For every $1 spent educating students at Mid, taxpayers receive an average return of $5.50, according to the study.

Mid Michigan College has compiled information about its annexation proposal, including explanatory videos, at midmich.edu/annexation-proposal. With questions about Mid’s annexation proposals, call Scott Mertes, vice president of community outreach and advancement, at (989)386-6622, ext. 230, or email smertes@midmich.edu.

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