What is a mill?

The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 of property value that is used to calculate local property taxes. Assigned millage rates are multiplied by the total taxable value of the property in order to arrive at the property taxes.

graphic of dollar bills and a chart explaining how the millage rate is calculated

How does the millage rate in Okemos compare with other districts?

Neighboring DistrictDebt Millage Rate
East Lansing7.0000
St. Johns7.0000
Grand Ledge4.1900

Millage rates vary between districts, based on the requests of each community’s school district. The amount of funding generated by a bond levy can vary greatly, based on the number of properties in each district and their value. A district with a greater number of properties that have high assessed values will produce more funding through their millage than a district with a lower number of properties (or with properties that have lower assessed values). See the millage rates for each Michigan public school district in the report below:

How local bonds impact education funding

Graphic of a jug of money (General Fund) and a small jug (local support), each pouring money into different funding categories

Our state’s General Fund provides funding to each school district through a per-pupil allowance. Individual districts are able to raise additional funding through debt bonds and site-sinking levies to fund a limited list of district needs, such as construction costs, the purchase of buses, and technology hardware (see the complete list of allowable uses here). If a district is not able to raise additional funding through bonds/levies, then all expenses related to educating students must come from the General Fund. Levies and bonds are a way to preserve the General Fund per-pupil allowance for direct education costs (teacher salaries, textbooks, educational materials, etc.).

What’s difference between a bond issue and a sinking fund millage?

A bond is a lump‐sum dollar amount the district borrows, through the sale of bonds, in  order to fund capital projects (such as building construction, district‐wide technology implementation, facility upgrades, etc.).  Taxpayers pay the money back over a period of years, with interest. A sinking fund millage is a dedicated property tax, considered a pay‐as‐you‐go method, for addressing smaller building remodeling projects and repair needs.  State law allows a district to levy up to five mills through a sinking fund millage, for no longer than 20 years.  The tax is levied each year, and this amount is used to make the most urgent repairs and improvements. The district does not pay interest on the money used through a sinking fund millage. 

More about Michigan K-12 Public School Funding

The School Finance Research Collaborative conducted an in-depth study to calculate the actual cost of educating a K-12 student in Michigan. Read their report.