Voters this fall are being asked to reapprove a 2.0 mill property tax for Wayne County RESA that directly benefits Dearborn Public Schools, among other public schools in the county.
Dearborn will receive approximately $8.4 million from the millage this year in unrestricted funds. That means the district is not limited in how it spends the money, unlike a district bond or sinking fund that must be spent mostly on physical items like buildings and buses.
In Dearborn, the Wayne RESA millage this year is being used to make $2 million of capital improvements in our buildings.
Another $1.8 million is being used to add 12 teachers to reduce class sizes, fund six more counselors, pay for three career Academy coordinators (one per traditional high school) and fund an additional school nurse.
About $230,000 is allocated to keep specially trained premier subs ready to fill in when teachers need time off. Dearborn has about 1,400 teachers.
Families benefit directly from $310,000 set aside to cover the pay-to-play fees parents used to pay if their child participated in any after school sports or activities.
The remaining funds are used for smaller expenses like providing some student health insurance for uninsured families, support for certain extra teacher collaborations and district communications.
The Wayne RESA millage is distributed based on student enrollment. Since the fund was first approved six years ago, Dearborn has received more than $7 million a year.
Early on, some of those funds were used to boost the district’s fund balance. A healthier “savings account” at the end of the school year allows the district to avoid borrowing money over the summer to pay bills while it waits for state funding.
Other notable projects paid for with the money included a four-classroom addition to reduce overcrowding at Dearborn High School, upgrades to elementary school playgrounds, and replacing both walking tracks and tracks for competitions at some schools.
RESA funds have also been used for school safety including upgrading our phone system to comply with new E911 requirements and new emergency notification systems being installed at schools.
The district’s general fund revenue is expected to be about $219 million this year, which does not include the RESA funds.