Passing an $80 Million Enhancement Millage

A stack of books

Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) is the intermediate school district in Michigan’s largest county. A long-time state lobbying client, they recently asked us to manage their local campaign for an $80 million enhancement millage.

A major focus of our efforts, which were led by our Detroit Practice Group, was to increase “grass tops” support from community leaders across Wayne County. Targeted influencers included elected officials, clergy, business leaders, and non-profit executives.

These efforts proved successful in what was a difficult year for any tax increase. Voters in 27 of 33 constituent school districts passed the measure, and it won ISD-wide by a margin of 54% to 46%.

Our campaign was heralded in the press as a model for passing multi-jurisdictional millages in “cash strapped” communities. Bill Miller of the Michigan Association of School Administrators was quoted in the Detroit News:

“The support that (Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency) received from local districts during the campaign is the model to replicate,” Miller said. “A model that is based on strong local district cooperation and coordination with their intermediate school districts is much more likely to result in successfully securing additional regional resources for students,” he said (emphasis added).

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