Operating Millage FAQ

Grandville Public Schools
Operating Millage Proposal

We hope this information about the May 2, 2023, operating millage proposal is helpful. If you have questions, please contact Superintendent Roger Bearup at 254-6570 or Assistant Superintendent Heather Roszkowski at 254-6566.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a school district operating millage?

As a result of Proposal A, the statewide school finance reform that voters passed in 1994, the vast majority of Michigan school districts must levy an 18 mill local property tax on non-homestead property for a specific time period in order to receive their full per-pupil funding. The operating millage provides critical funds to support the day-to-day operations of schools, including but not limited to staffing costs, instructional programs, instructional materials, transportation and maintenance. This money cannot credibly be replaced by other sources.

Is this a new tax?

No. This proposal would be a reauthorization of the non-homestead operating millage last approved by voters in November 2013. The duration requested for the reauthorization is four years.


Will my primary home property taxes go up if this passes?

No. Your home property tax rate would be unaffected because this tax does not apply to primary residences. Businesses would continue to pay this operating millage that they’ve been paying since the passage of Proposal A in 1994. A person’s owned principal residence (and other qualified properties) is exempted by law.


Will my primary home property taxes go down if this is defeated?

No. Your primary home property tax rate would remain the same; the rate would drop only for non-homestead properties, such as commercial and industrial businesses. However, if the proposal is defeated by the voters, it would result in a loss of $15.7 million in operating revenue and a dramatic reduction of educational programs offered by the District.


What is a non-homestead property?

A non-homestead property is any property that is not an owned primary residence. Examples of non-homestead properties include vacation homes and industrial, commercial, business, investment and rental properties.

Do businesses and commercial entities pay this operating tax in other school districts?

Yes. Regardless of which district a business may be located in within Michigan, a school district must levy the operating tax in order for it to receive its full funding from the State of Michigan.


When does Grandville Public Schools’ operating millage expire?

Grandville Public Schools’ operating millage was last authorized by voters in November 2013 for a period of 10 years. The levy will expire in December 2023.


How much revenue does the operating millage generate for Grandville Public Schools?

The operating millage generates approximately $15.7 million dollars annually.


How many mills is Grandville Public Schools currently levying?

Grandville Public Schools is currently levying 16.8422 mills. Starting in 2016, Grandville Public Schools received its first Headlee Rollback. Rollbacks since 2016 have collectively permanently reduced the 18 mill operating levy down to 16.8422 mills. The only method of restoring this millage back to 18 mills is through voter action.


What is a Headlee Rollback?

In 1978, Michigan voters approved the “Headlee” tax limitation amendment to the Michigan Constitution. It requires local units of government, including school districts, to reduce millages when annual property values increase greater than the rate of inflation.


How can Grandville Public Schools avoid a Headlee Rollback?

Districts cannot avoid a Headlee Rollback. However, in an effort to combat the effects of a Headlee Rollback, school districts can seek voter authorization for more than the 18 mill levy and/or a shorter authorization period. Grandville Public Schools is seeking approval for 19 mills over a four year period. If approved, 19 mills allows the additional 1 mill to offset up to 1 mill worth of Headlee Rollbacks over the four years to keep the millage at 18 mills or as close as possible if the rollbacks exceed 1 mill. (Note: This does not allow a school district to levy more than 18 mills at any time.)

The other option to address Headlee Rollbacks is to vote on millages more frequently, but that has significant costs, both in voter time and in dollars.

What will the actual ballot language say?




This proposal will allow the school district to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance.

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Grandville Public Schools, Kent and Ottawa Counties, Michigan, be increased by 19 mills ($19.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 4 years, 2023 to 2026, inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and 1.1578 mills are levied in 2023 is approximately $972,827 and 18 mills are levied in 2024 is approximately $15,729,239?

____ YES

____ NO


Why does the ballot language ask for an increase?

It is a requirement to use the word “increase” when school districts are seeking more millage than currently authorized, like when there has been a Headlee Rollback. The current millage will be zero after it expires. The proposal is for 19 mills, with a maximum of 18 mills to be levied at any one time because of statutory limits.


Why does the ballot language only propose 1.1578 mills in 2023 but proposes 18 mills in 2024?

The 2023 levy expires in December and is currently at 16.8422 mills. The additional 1.1578 mills would restore Grandville Public Schools to 18 mills for 2023. Due to the expiration of the 2023 levy, the District is proposing additional authorization for the 2024 tax year and beyond.


What is a mill?

A mill is $1.00 for every $1,000 of taxable valuation on property. Example: If a commercial property has a $100,000 taxable value, then the 18 mill operating millage would cost $1,800 on that property. At the current 16.8422 mills, a business is paying $1,684, so, if the proposal is approved, the 18 mills would be an increase of $116 annually.


Wasn’t there a bond passed in 2019?

The operating millage is unrelated to the bond passed in 2019 for construction of the early learning building and new middle school. That bond money can only be used for building improvements and construction and cannot be used for operating expenses. In fact, that 2019 bond ballot included language that expressly acknowledged bond funds could not be used for operating purposes.


Who is eligible to vote on this operating millage?

Any registered voter living within Grandville Public Schools’ District boundaries.


Where do I vote?

Voting takes place at the same location as national and state elections. If preferred, all eligible and registered voters in Michigan may now request an absent voter ballot without providing a reason. Visit Michigan.gov/Vote for more information.


When will the election take place?

The election is Tuesday, May 2, 2023. Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.