Residents still on hook for closed school district - WNEM TV 5

Residents still on hook for closed school district

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Members of a local community are outraged because they're stuck footing the bill for a closed school district.

Buena Vista schools in Saginaw County closed last year. But now, residents must still pay toward district's debt until that debt is paid off.

Pamela Hanley rents out a home in Buena Vista Township. When she looked at her line-by-line charges on her tax bill, she was shocked to see what she owed.

"The first thing I see was operation of Buena Vista Schools and Buena Vista debt. And it kind of freaked me out because I know there is no more Buena Vista school and I wonder what the debt is," says Hanley.

Non-homestead homeowners, like Hanley are forced to continue to pay towards the Buena Vista schools operating budget.

For Hanley, that's $173 she owes to a district that only teaches lessons about fiscal responsibility to other districts in the state.

"I'd rather take that 173 dollars and flush it down the toilet rather than pay it to them," says Hanley. "Why are we responsible for money that they messed up? That's not right."

But when the state decided to shut down BV in July of 2013, they made it clear that residents would continue to pay toward the school until the debt is paid off.

"Anybody who lives in the former Buena Vista school district, anything that they pay will remain the same, the distribution will remain the same, and really you wouldn't notice any difference if you're a homeowner," says Tim Novak, Saginaw County Treasurer.

Homeowners are still the hook for more than $3.7 million. It will likely take about two or three years to pay it off.

Now once the Buena Vista debt is paid off, their tax dollars will shift. They'll go to the district determined by the redrawn boundary lines created when the district closed.

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