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Horn legislation fixing Buena Vista’s debt passes Senate

LANSING—State Sen. Ken Horn’s legislation to assist the Buena Vista community with an ongoing issue that stemmed from the dissolution of the school district in 2013 passed the Senate with a 29-8 vote Wednesday.

The issue was brought to Horn and Rep. Vanessa Guerra, D-Saginaw, by various local officials from the Buena Vista community.

“Rep. Guerra and I would like to personally thank township supervisor, Dwayne Parker, township manager, Dexter Mitchell and township trustee Greg Carter for educating us about the problems Buena Vista is still facing after their schools were closed,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “I’m happy that we were able to pass a well thought, bi-partisan solution to a very specific issue in this community.”

Senate Bill 173 will eliminate Buena Vista School District’s remaining operational debt. It also ensures that Saginaw and Bridgeport-Spaulding schools’ funding is not impacted before they have the chance to hold local elections to renew their millages, allowing them to collect taxes on the new properties.

“It is important to note that this legislation will come at no new cost to the state of Michigan,” said Horn. “My bill will pay off the debt by capturing part of $2.5 million that was set aside in 2014 for maintenance of the old Buena Vista buildings.

“I introduced this legislation because the citizens of Buena Vista paid for these buildings with their hard earned tax dollars, yet they were never given the option of selling the assets to pay off the debt.”

SB 173 is the first step in fixing some larger issues surrounding school dissolutions in Michigan.

“I hope the state never has to dissolve another school district, but if it does, I want to make sure those residents don’t face the same problems we’re seeing in Buena Vista. I’m working with my colleagues to continue productive conversations about future solutions.”