Schoolcraft County Extension millage fails

The millage proposed to fund Michigan State University Extension in Schoolcraft County was defeated on Feb. 22. The Extension millage was one of three proposals on a general ballot, all of which failed. I want to thank and recognize Dave Anderson and the Schoolcraft staff who have spent months educating Schoolcraft County voters regarding the millage proposal. The final vote was 41 percent voting “yes” and 59 percent voting “no.” The other two millage issues on the ballot failed by wider margins, with 33 percent voting “yes” and 67 percent voting “no.” It’s disappointing to have the measure fail, yet the higher percent voting “yes” on the Extension millage shows that our programs and our staff efforts to educate voters made a difference.

 The millage election resulted from a decision the County Board of Commissioners made in 2010 to fund MSUE through March 31 from their general fund and then to seek approval of a dedicated millage to provide ongoing funding for the current and future fiscal years. As a result of the millage failure, current funding for MSU Extension ends on March 31, 2011.

 The Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet tonight (Feb. 24) for their regularly scheduled meeting. Implications of the millage result will be on the meeting agenda. MSUE staff will continue to be engaged in this discussion with the commissioners.

 As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for our staff members in that office. Yesterday afternoon (Feb. 23), Jim Lucas, Steve Lovejoy and Michelle Rodgers spoke with staff members in Schoolcraft County about staffing, programming commitments and operational issues. Staff members will be meeting with their institute directors to discuss programmatic implications in the county, in their individual plans of work and for the work teams. Decisions about office locations and employment will be made in the coming days, pending decisions the board makes tonight.

 We will continue to keep you informed.

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