Fenton Schools Asking New Sinking Fund Proposal

Residents in the Fenton Area Public Schools district are being asked to go to the polls next month to vote on a new sinking fund proposal.

The district’s current sinking fund millage was passed in 2009 and is expiring this December. The current rate is just over .9-mills and generates roughly $750,000 per year for facility repair and construction. On August 6th, school officials are asking residents for a new 10-year, 2.25-mill sinking fund that will raise roughly $2.1-million per year. Under the expiring sinking fund, money generated could only be used on facility repairs and construction. A new 2017 state law expands those uses, with voter approval, to extend to the other areas of need. Fenton Schools’ Superintendent Adam Hartley says the additional revenue would allow them to upgrade heating and air conditioning units across the district, along with making security enhancements and improving instructional technology.

If approved, a home in the district with a taxable value of $100,000 will pay $225 per year to the fund; an increase of roughly $134. If it doesn’t pass, Hartley said that he and the Board of Education will have to go back to the drawing board to see why they didn’t get the numbers they wanted and if they want to pursue a new proposal on the November ballot. He said the sinking fund protects the general fund, of which 88% goes towards operating the district. That includes salaries and classroom materials. Hartley said the community has been wonderful to them in the past, which has given them flexibility with the general fund. He said they don’t want a gap where they’re not generating revenue and would potentially have to look at making difficult choices between facility repairs, curriculum, or even tougher decisions.

The district has a set up a website where people can see details of the proposal, what it will cost them, watch informational videos, and ask questions directly to officials. Visit it at https://www.fentonschools.org/2019-sinking-fund/ (MK)

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