A recreation millage ballot question is expected to go before voters in the Dexter school district

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The Dexter Community Schools Board of Education is submitting proposal language to have a recreation millage question appear on the August ballot.

The proposal will ask for no more than 1.0 mill for 20 years. It's estimated 1.0 mill would generate approximately $1.4 million in the first year.

The school board unanimously, with trustee Brian Arnold absent, voted to approve submitting the proposal for the Aug. 2 vote.

In the school board’s meeting packet under notes and discussion it reads:

“Dexter Community Schools is the only legal entity with the authority to operate a recreation authority for the entire 84+ square mile district boundaries. A recreation authority is a community recreation program serving multi-generational recreation interests in the Dexter Community. Formal planning and oversight for a recreation authority and funding for the twenty-year period is essential for a recreation authority to plan and respond to the recreation interests of all generations in the Dexter Community. Pending the decision to place a proposed recreation millage on the August 2022 ballot and any potential passage of the recreation millage, the DCS Board of Education will establish a Recreation Advisory Committee to create short and long term multi-generational recreation plans for the entire Dexter Community. Composition of the Recreation Advisory Committee will be determined after the August election and will include community members representing the interests of multi-generations and recreational interests of the entire Dexter Community.”

One theme from the school board members was the need to inform the school district community.

School board president Mara Greatorex and trustee Daniel Alabré said the district community will need to know exactly what they are voting for.

Greatorex said for her, one important reason for the proposal is that it would in part help fund the senior center. She said the seniors have helped build the foundation of the community and by helping the center the community can give back to them.

DCS Superintendent Chris Timmis said a reason why they are looking at this is because of a request from the community to ask for it. He said if approved the millage could help benefit every age group in the community.

In his presentation on the millage question, Timmis said the community should consider it because:

“Community Interest: Over the past several years, various entities in the community have conducted surveys, focus groups, and studies (i.e. Dexter Community Fund, Dexter Senior Center, Dexter Community Schools) and all have demonstrated overwhelming community interest in supporting Dexter seniors, community activities, activities for kids, and a desire for a community center.”

“Community Values: Our community is connected through Dexter Community Schools. Regardless of what township or city our community members reside in they are all in “Dexter.” Members of the DCS community are connected to each other through geography and activities within the community. Our students and the high-quality of life in our community are protected through our collective commitment to our schools and each other. Our collaborative approach to supporting the entire community demonstrates that all voices are respected and supported.”

“Dexter Seniors - We all have an obligation to support our seniors who built this community and continue to support our kids. Every year, the Dexter Senior Center has to fundraise to provide programming to seniors in our community. DCS has historically provided space for the Dexter Senior Center and can continue to provide space for the Dexter Senior Center to utilize sustainable funding and programming to support healthy and fulfilling aging for Dexter older adults.”

“Community Accessibility: Currently, Dexter Community Schools is the Recreation Department for the Dexter Community on a 100% fee-based system that limits opportunities for Dexter adults and kids.”

“A child’s education involves more than just a classroom experience. Education is a combination of experiences that are provided within the classroom, with a child’s family, and throughout a community.”

Here are some of the things the millage, if approved by voters, would be expected to fund:

Stable Funding for Dexter Senior Activities and location in a DCS facility (approximately $300,000 per year)

Elimination of Participation Fees for MC/DHS athletics through millage support of facilities and maintenance to offset cost of operating athletics (approximately $200,000 per year)

Support for the Youth and Adult Enrichment through a funded Community Recreation Program (approximately $500,000 per year):

  • Support for Dexter Community and DCS Fine Arts (Art, Music, Drama)
  • Support for Youth Enrichment and Recreation
  • Support for Adult Enrichment and Recreation

Support for construction/operation of a potential future DCS Community Center (approximately $400,000 per year) open to the DCS Community during the day and in the evening

School board vice president Elise Bruderly said this proposal question on the ballot will let the people decide if they want it or not. This gives the community an opportunity to voice their views on this by casting a ballot. She said one area for her as a board member that’s important is that the millage would help support Youth and Adult Enrichment through a funded Community Recreation Program.

If approved, the school board would then need to establish a Recreation Advisory Committee.

Looking ahead, school board treasurer Dick Lundy said the community will also need to understand the structure of governance that would be in place if the millage is approved.

To learn more about the millage proposal, go to https://www.dexterschools.org/district/board-of-education
and see the full presentation on it.

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