Concerns over millage in Dollar Bay

To the editor:

As an Osceola Township resident, I have concerns regarding the then- proposed Dollar Bay-Tamarack City School Millage Proposal that was voted on Aug. 6. In 1997, when the last school millage was proposed and approved by voters, the school board stated at the public meeting in the Tamarack City Fire Hall that no additional school millages would be proposed until that one was retired. The current school board is not honoring that promise.

Additionally, the proposal includes funds for more space for kindergarten and first grade students. With declining K-12 enrollments nationwide and within Houghton-Keweenaw counties, it is unclear why this school district is increasing space for younger students. The proposal states that a multipurpose room is needed such that athletic practices do not finish at 9:30 p.m.

Due to their school structure, this district starts later in the morning which means that school ends later in the afternoon. This results in any after school activity starting later than in other districts. Studies show that older students stay up later due to their body chemistry. It appears that a later practice would actually meet their bodies’ needs better than an earlier one and allow students to complete their homework prior to practice. Furthermore, most school districts in the county have practices that are later in the evening. Why should Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Schools be any different?

A few years ago, a township road millage was passed with the major component being repaving the road to the school. The initial proposal was rejected by voters because 80% of the funding would have gone to repairing this road in Dollar Bay with few improvements to the rest of the township. Eventually, a modified road millage proposal passed. Since the road millage funds raised in Dollar Bay have been used to repair the road leading to the school, it could be indirectly considered a “school millage”. When the proposed school millage is combined with the existing one, the township road millage and the Tamarack City fire protection millage (which is the highest in Houghton-Keweenaw Counties), Tamarack City residents will be paying a combined township millage rate that will be one of the highest in the county. Is this really what the Osceola Township residents want and need?

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