The contentious vote for the city of Chelsea to separate from the Shelby County school system has concluded in a landslide victory for the opposition.
The vote was on whether the city would raise the millage rate, a tax rate used for real estate or property, by 12.5 to form its own school system.
Citizens of Chelsea overwhelmingly voted against the city’s motion with 3,196 against and 467 in favor, according to Chelsea City Councilmen Cody Sumners.
The proposition being voted on was heavily protested by many, both online and in public forums.
Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer said the millage rate increase would be more than enough to fund the expenses of a city school system. He also stated that a city school system would be necessary to repair the school facilities within city limits.
Meanwhile, opposition members questioned the feasibility of an independent school system and the possibility of children in the community having to be separated or changing schools. The opposition also largely supported leveraging the city’s 1% sales tax for the repairs needed to the facilities.
Despite the heated debate and argument between the sides, most on both sides graciously accepted the result and expressed hopefulness in moving forward.
Sumners, who opposed the measure, told 1819 News that this was a “crazy” turnout for Chelsea city voters.
“The election results tonight finally give the mayor and council a clear direction to move forward,” Sumners told 1819 News. “I look forward to partnering with the Shelby County Board of Education to make our great schools even better.”
“I am pleased to report that a record number of voters from the city of Chelsea participated and voted today in the Special Election,” Picklesimer said. “…As a Chelsea resident and a grandfather, I am disappointed that the vote has turned out as it has. However, the people, my neighbors have spoken. As the Mayor of Chelsea, I will move forward with the decision that has been made by our citizens to continue in the Shelby County School System and to partner with the Shelby County Board of Education to make our Chelsea area schools the absolute best they can be by utilizing the One-Cent Sales Tax that we currently collect for our schools. I look forward also to seeing the work of Councilman Casey Morris and Councilman Cody Sumners as they move forward with their Alternative Plan to improve the school facilities in our area.”
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