Sees renewal as vital to district’s anti-poverty mission, challenges state school funding systems
EquityPAC, a local organization working to increase the number of equity-minded policies, practices and officials in West Michigan, enthusiastically endorsed Grand Rapids Public Schools’ millage renewal request on non-homestead properties. This millage is incumbent to receive state funding through the system created by Proposal A.
“A strong school system with an anti-poverty mission is a must if we are trying to address racial and social inequities in Grand Rapids,” said Denavvia Mojet, EquityPAC board member. “What we have seen over these last few years is the need to overhaul how our state funds public education, to ensure marginalized communities receive the educational resources they need to succeed, and not receive an unfair share of the burden to pay for it.”
When GRPS came to meet with members of the PAC, there were questions about why the millage was on non-homestead properties exclusively, and whether or not that shifted tax burden to renters, who are typically lower income, and often are non-white residents. There was a robust discussion about why this was required under the state system, which included ideas around helping GRPS families collect the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit, a state income tax credit that renters can also qualify for. EquityPAC leadership concluded that until the state modernizes the way they fund public schools, we cannot risk losing local and state revenues to invest in one of our most important assets: children.
“Hopefully the state will get serious about the inequities in the way we fund schools but until then, we should see to it that this millage is renewed so that funding is not an even larger gap between GRPS and other Kent ISD schools,” said one EquityPAC member.
About EquityPAC: EquityPAC formed in March of 2016 as an independent political action committee under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (PA 388 of 1976). Their mission is to increase the number of equity-minded officials, policies, and practices in Michigan. To do this, they mobilize time and money to support equity-minded candidates and ballot initiatives, provide education and advocacy of equity-focused policies, and encourage direct citizen action to address a number of equity issues. Learn more at www.equitypacmi.com.