By Vera Hogan
Citizens in the Fenton Area Public Schools district will have their say on the proposed new 10-year sinking fund when they go to the polls for a special election on Tuesday, Aug. 6.
The current fund expires Dec. 31.
Absentee voting has already begun.
School officials also are asking to increase the expiring sinking fund millage amount from the current 1 mill to 2.25 mills. A property owner whose home has a taxable value of $75,000 is currently being charged $68.21 per year for the sinking fund expiring at the end of this year. With a new sinking fund, that same homeowner will pay $168.75 per year.
If voters in the city of Fenton, Fenton Township, Rose Township and Tyrone Township, who are in the Fenton Area Public Schools (FAPS) district, approve the new sinking fund, the next 10-year collection period will start Jan. 1, 2020.
Earlier this year, in a letter to the school district community, Superintendent Adam Hartley said, “FAPS has always used the sinking fund to make sure our students are learning in spaces that are safe and up to date,” he said.
Hartley said the reason for the increase from 1 to 2.25 mills stems from new legislation that allows school districts to leverage sinking fund dollars for not only repairs and construction, but also for security and technology.
Hartley said this new legislation is great news because if the new sinking fund is approved by the community, the district can set goals and create rigorous plans not based on “what if a bond passes” but rather based on consistent revenue each year.
“By having a sinking fund under the new legislative guidelines, Fenton Area Public Schools will continue to enhance in all three areas and not have to seek another bond,” Hartley said.
Along with maintaining quality facilities, enhancing school security and progressing in instructional technology, a new sinking fund will allow the district to equip each school building with new HVAC climate control classrooms within a two-year period.
“The updated HVAC systems will provide comfortable learning spaces for our students, including central air in our classrooms,” Hartley said.
For more information, go to fentonschools.org/2019-sinking-fund.
In May, Hartley was asked about the need for a special election in August, when there will be a citywide election in November. He said, “Because of the current sinking fund expiring in December, we are placing the new sinking fund on the August ballot so we have an opportunity to go back out to the community in November if the August vote is not favorable to the school district.”
In order to provide voters with details they’ll need to make an informed decision. Hartley began a series of Community Informational Open Houses on May 6. The open houses as well as coffee and conversation sessions with the superintendent were held throughout late spring and summer.
The final coffee and conversation session, open to the public, will be held in the Administration Building, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 25.
City of Fenton
The city of Fenton has 9,129 registered voters currently on record. All city of Fenton voters are in the Fenton Area Public Schools district and all cast their ballots in the Activity Center at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.
Fenton Township has 1,912 registered voters who reside in the Fenton school district. Fenton school district voters who reside in Fenton Township cast their ballots in precincts four and five, which will be run as a single, consolidated precinct on Aug. 6. Voting will take place at Lake Fenton High School in the Green Room adjacent to the Band Room in the south wing of the building.
There are currently 1,331 registered FAPS voters on record in Rose Township. However, they expect more before the election because it will increase due to Secretary of State automatic registration. Only precinct 1 will be voting in the Aug. 6 election, which takes place in the lower level of the Rose Township offices.
There are currently 4,489 registered voters in Tyrone Township, who reside in the Fenton school district. Tyrone Township voters in the FAPS district are in precincts 2 and 3 and vote at Tyrone Covenant Presbyterian Church, 10235 White Lake Rd., Fenton.
ACTUAL BALLOT LANGUAGE:
Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Fenton Area Public Schools, Genesee, Livingston and Oakland Counties, Michigan, be increased by and the board of education be authorized to levy not to exceed 2.25 mills ($2.25 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 10 years, 2020 to 2029, inclusive, to create a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings, for school security improvements, for the acquisition or upgrading of technology and all other purposes authorized by law; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2020 is approximately $2,110,292?