Residents paying for school district that no longer exists - WNEM TV 5

Residents paying for school district that no longer exists

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Some local taxpayers are on the hook for more than $6 million, but the big bill is for a school district that their children no longer go to.

Buena Vista Township residents are still paying for the Buena Vista School District, even after it was dissolved by the state last year.

Now, with a new millage, they will get to vote on whether they keep paying off that debt.

"If you ask all the residential areas all around me, they would not agree on it," said Joe Joundi, owner of JB Party Store.

It's more than a year away, but he's already upset about a school millage vote that will take place in 2015. The Saginaw Intermediate School District is looking to renew a millage that would pay off Buena Vista's debt to the state.

Even though the doors are closed, the defunct school district still owes the state more than $6 million. If the millage passes, Buena Vista businesses like Joundi's would foot the bill.

"How do I know this is going to the kids when the kids are not going to school?" Joundi asked.

Officials with the I.S.D. said the millage will be a tough sell.

Chris Frank, assistant director of finance for the Saginaw I.S.D., said the millage would be a one-year deal, and once the debt is paid off, other districts where former Buena Vista students attend class will see the remainder of the money.

"Once they become a member of Bridgeport Public Schools or Saginaw Public Schools or Frankenmuth School District, they would typically pay that 18 mills to those districts," Frank said.

If the millage were to fail, one way or another, Frank said the state will find a way to collect on its debt.

"My speculation would be the treasury would probably come in and probably do a judgment levy anyway, so I guess it probably would be cleaner just to have an 18 mill renewal pass," Frank said.

Joundi is urging everyone to stop the measure from passing.

"Just don't vote for the millage," he said.

If the millage passes in June of next year, it would affect businesses and rental properties. Individual home owners would not be affected.

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