First, we had to learn how many school districts are in the county and their boundaries. Many covered multiple townships.
Second, we learned the exact locations of each wind farm in the county and the locations of the turbines. We used locations from this site: https://www.thewindpower.net/
Third, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Huron County treasurer’s office to find out how much each district received in 2020 from wind energy. Those records showed that two districts — Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port-Laker and North Huron — received the most money.
Finally, we confirmed we understood how wind turbine money support local schools. Michigan law says property tax money collected from wind turbines can’t be used directly to pay for school activities, such as teacher salaries or operating costs. The money can only be used to pay off debt from bond issues or into so-called sinking funds approved by voters.
Some of the project supported by the bond issues include:
- New bleachers at the North Huron High School athletic field.
- The Laker Legacy Center.
- The Laker High School athletic center and stadium.
Ray Locker is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.
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