The Pioneer Press

The Student News Site of Dearborn High School

The Pioneer Press

The Pioneer Press


Dearborn Public Schools urges its citizens to vote on the upcoming millage renewal controlling 16% of its funding.
Dearborn Public Schools
This diagram presented by Dearborn Public Schools displays the per pupil funding from 1995-2023. Failure to renew the operating millage will result in a severe decline of around $2,000 out of the current $9,921.

On Feb. 27, 2024, Dearborn citizens will be asked to vote on the renewal of the Dearborn Public Schools (DPS) district’s operating millage.

A millage, unlike a bond, would not give new funds to sponsor major projects. Rather, it would be used to continue funding daily school operations such as, but not limited to, staff salaries, curriculum materials, classroom supplies, utility bills, busing, and athletics programs. If this millage renewal is not passed, then the DPS district will face a loss of 16% of its general funding, totaling $41 million out of $274 million. These funds are crucial in ensuring that the district’s schools function properly without significant

DPS Communications Director David Mustenon addressed the negative consequences that students will face in the event of a hypothetical blockage of the millage proposal.

“We would lose just over $2000 per student if this operational millage is not renewed,” Mustenon said.

Not only will this lead to a lower per-pupil general fund, but also the layoff of a notable portion of DPS staff.

“Failure to renew the millage won’t mean a cutback in salaries, it’ll actually mean fewer people,” Mustonen said. “We are obligated by a union contract to pay the staff the amount that’s in that contract, so we cannot cutback their salaries. What we would have to do is have fewer people to pay to make up that difference.”

To reiterate, DPS is only able to change salaries with the approval of the Dearborn Federation of Teachers (DFT), a union designed to protect teachers from exploitation. Through the union, teachers are given a sense of security when it comes to the stability of their salaries.


born High School principal Zeina Jebril explained the rationale for the inability to change the teacher’s salary.

“We have to deal with their union. They have a strong union, so unless the district agrees with them to cut their salaries, we won’t be able to change them.  But most of the time, that’s not what happens,” Jebril said. “What ends up happening is that we have fewer teachers. So that means larger class sizes, less support, less social workers. We just hired a fourth social worker here at Dearborn High. So a lot of those supports would be caught.”

A popular misconception regarding the millage renewal is the addition of a new tax; however, as stated previously, the renewal of the millage will not fund new projects, and thus will not lead to the creation of a new tax. According to DPS, the tax maximum on homeowners will decrease from $6.17 million to $4 million. This will also cause lower taxes on the homeowners, causing them to pay less with a lower maximum cap. Inversely, the majority of the tax burden will now be funded by non-homestead properties. This includes businesses, commercial sites, rentals, and vacation homes.

Citizens of Dearborn, on Feb. 27, 2024, you will be presented with a very significant and consequential decision that will impact the future of our public schools for a long time. In voting there is strength, so make sure to go out and exercise your civic duty.

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Mohammed Alali
Mohammed Alali, Website Editor
"If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now." - master oogway