Fenton Area Public Schools seeking renewal of sinking fund

FENTON (WJRT) (4/17/2019) - Fenton voters will see a proposal on the August ballot, seeking a tax increase to pay for school maintenance and improvements.

With the current 10-year sinking fund expiring this year, Fenton Area Public Schools is hoping to not only renew, but increase the fund for the next decade.

"Ninety percent of our general fund is used to pay people," said Superintendent Adam Hartley.

That only leaves 10 percent of the budget available if something goes wrong and needs to be repaired.

"We've used sinking funding dollars to make sure our roofs are up to date," said Hartley. "If there's anything major that happens with boilers or something that costs a lot of money, were prepared to fix that right away without pulling from the general fund."

Because the funds are secured for 10 years, Hartley said it allows them to plan ahead with what they may need to use portions of it for, meaning future bond requests may be unnecessary.

"Our community was wonderful in 2014 approving a bond and a large portion of that bond was for technology," said Hartley.

While upgrades were made with bond money, technology advances quickly and Hartley said additional sinking funds will be used to improve that once again.

"The sinking fund that expires this December is 1 mill. We're asking our community to support 2.25 mills," said Hartley.

The increase would equate to $2.25 on every $1,000 of taxable value for a home or business. The district says that will about double the current amount of taxes already being paid by each Fenton tax payer.

"Without a sinking fund we would not be able to do what we have done in the past with our facilities and retain those dollars in our general fund so we can focus more on teaching and learning," said Hartley.

The district has developed a spreadsheet to show how the millage increase will effect taxpayers by dollar amount.