Mid Michigan College ballot proposals would expand its district into Gratiot, Isabella counties

Mid Michigan College is looking to expand its district into Gratiot and Isabella counties with two proposals that are on November’s ballot.
Mid-Michigan College seeks annexation on November ballot
Mid-Michigan College seeks annexation on November ballot(Colton Cichoracki WJRT)
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 3:41 PM EDT
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HARRISON, Mich. (WJRT) - Mid Michigan College is looking to expand its district into Gratiot and Isabella counties with two proposals that are on November’s ballot.

It’s called annexation and it would expand the community college’s district from just the Clare-Gladwin RESD to include the Gratiot-Isabella RESD.

One of the motives behind making the change is that more than one third of all students that attend Mid Michigan College live in the Gratiot-Isabella RESD and are paying out of district tuition to attend classes.

“Right now, we have about 1,100 students that are currently enrolled this fall that are from the Gratiot-Isabella county RESD," said Scott Mertes, vice president of academic affairs and community outreach of the college. "And traditionally Isabella County is our number one county in terms of our student enrollment and Gratiot County is number three.”

Right now, students living outside of the district are paying $220 per contact hour while the in-district tuition is $132.

Mertes said that if this passes, tuition would be 40 percent cheaper for students that live in the Isabella-Gratiot RESD because they would be able to pay the in-district tuition rate.

There are two proposal that would need to be approved for this to happen.

“We have two propositions," Mertes said. "One is basically an invitation as to whether the residents of Gratiot-Isabella RESD would like to officially join Mid Michigan College’s district. The second is asking if they would like to join the district, if we can assess our millage rate, which is 1.2232 mills.”

Mertes said the millage proposal would cost the median resident in Isabella County less than $70 a year in Isabella County and about $55 a year in Gratiot County.

Mertes said that people living in these counties that won’t have students attend college or go to college themselves, expanding Mid Michigan College’s district will help elsewhere, too. And it could help attract more students to the college in the future.

“Mid is really a tremendous economic engine for this area," he said. "Our economic impact on the Mid-Michigan region is about $69 million annually and we support through our student operations center about one out of every 43 jobs in the Mid-Michigan region. So lowering tuition, attracting additional students that college might not have been a possibility for them will only increase to the community those economic impacts that we are already having.”

For more information about the ballot proposal, visit Mid Michigan College’s website.

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