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Inkster voters asked to renew millage for dissolved school district

Inkster voters are deciding a millage renewal this Election Day — for a school district that no longer exists.

The state dissolved Inkster schools in July 2013.

But the district still exists on paper to pay off debts — including a $12.5 million emergency loan from the state in the spring of 2013.

Steve Ezikian is deputy superintendent of the Wayne Regional Educational Services Agency, which carries out the old district’s remaining obligations.

Ezikian says Inkster voters face this decision: “Do we maintain the status quo to pay off this debt, or do we risk a judgment levy?”

Ezikian says that judgment levy could come about because the state could go to court to collect on the debt, and has “the law on its side.”

That’s because the district’s 18-mill tax levy on non-homestead properties was pledged to guarantee the state loan. If there’s a judgment levy, it would apply to property owners across the board.

“I understand their frustration. They don’t have a school district. They don’t feel like they did this,” Ezikian said. But: “It’s in their best interest, even though it’s distasteful, to maintain the status quo.”

A Michigan Department of Treasury spokesman did not immediately respond when asked if the state would pursue court action to collect the Inkster schools debt.

This wouldn't be the first time Inkster taxpayers would face a judgment levy.

They’re already paying out settlementson several police brutality cases, including a $1.37 million settlement for the police beating of motorist Floyd Dent. Former Inkster officer William Melendez went on trial for Dent’s assault this week.

Inkster taxpayers also had to pay out this summer as part of a $49 million Wayne County tax levy,after county retirees successfully sued for extra pay.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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