CTE Millage

For over 50 years, St. Joseph County has talked about supporting local Career & Technical Education (formerly Vocational Education) through a countywide millage.

This fall, voters will decide on 1.0 mill CTE ballot proposal to enhance the program currently offered by a Consortium of local school districts. The proposal will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Although the millage proposal does not include a CTE Center as has been recently discussed, it would provide funding to enhance and restore programs such as Career Prep and Work-Based Learning (Co-op), as well as add more CTE class options while making CTE more sustainable in the future, according to administrators.

State law passed in 1994 changed the way Michigan schools are funded and limited new CTE millage requests to 1.0 mill on a countywide basis through intermediate schools. CTE millages that were approved previously to 1994 were “grandfathered” by the law.

Currently, CTE in St. Joseph County is supported by approximately $1 million annually from local districts’ general education funds.

“After some local school boards told us they thought a proposal that included a center was too big of an ask for voters, we went on a listening tour,” said Teresa Belote, superintendent of the St. Joseph County Intermediate School District (SJCISD). “What we heard is that the community still wants to offer more robust CTE for students and local employers, but they also want to make it sustainable for the future.”

The 1.0 millage request would be less than “grandfathered” CTE rates in surrounding Branch (4.02), Calhoun (1.5) and VanBuren (2.5) counties and would generate less than half the funding. Like St. Joseph County, Cass and Kalamazoo counties currently do not have a CTE millage.

Surrounding counties offer more CTE programs than the 11 offered in St. Joseph County. Branch County currently offers 14 programs despite having less than half the student population, while Cass offers 13, Calhoun offers 18 choices, Kalamazoo 26, and VanBuren 22 at its Tech Center.

What:  A 1.0 mill (.0001), 10-year ballot proposal to support Career & Technical Education in St. Joseph County. (See "Ballot Language")

When:  The proposal will be on the Nov. 5, 2019, ballot in precincts within the St. Joseph County Intermediate School District boundaries.

Cost to Homeowner:  A 1.0 mill levy would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 approximately $4.16/ month, or $50.00/year.

Amount generated:  Based on the 2019 County Assessor’s report, 1.0 mill would generate approximately $2.3 million annually for the CTE Consortium.

What would change:  The millage would allow the Consortium of local school districts to:

  • Add more CTE class choices for students;
  • Increase local work-based learning (co-op) opportunities;
  • Increase Career Prep education for grades 6-12 and help local districts meet new State requirements;
  • Create more dual enrollment opportunities;
  • Increase student safety by providing better tools & equipment and increasing the number of classroom aides;
  • Provide for more classroom tools, equipment and materials;
  • Increase funding for CTE student organizations (FFA, BPA, DECA, etc.);
  • Make CTE more sustainable for local districts by reducing the amount spent from general education funds.

(See "Proposal Changes" for more information)