Citizens in the Fenton Area Public Schools district had their say on the proposed new 10-year sinking fund at the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 6. What they said was an overwhelming “no.”
The proposal failed by a total of 1,543 “no” votes to 828 “yes” votes.
Fenton Area Public Schools voters represent households in three counties. In Genesee County, 1,357 votes were cast in this election. In Livingston County (Tyrone Township),
830 votes were cast and in Oakland County (Rose Township), 184 votes were cast.
School officials asked to increase the expiring sinking fund millage amount from the current 1 mill to 2.25 mills. The current fund expires Dec. 31.
A property owner whose home has a taxable value of $75,000 is currently being charged $75 per year for the sinking fund. With a new sinking fund, that amount would have climbed to $168.75 per year.
Many readers have stated the district is asking for too much money.
Hartley said previously that 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.
Along with maintaining quality facilities, enhancing school security and progressing in instructional technology, a new sinking fund would have allowed the district to equip each school building with new HVAC climate control classrooms within a two-year period.
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 a letter sent to parents Wednesday, Aug. 7, Hartley said, “The result of the Sinking Fund vote was not what we were hoping for, however, the result does not change the fact that we are fortunate to be in a great school community and we have many things to be grateful for here in FAPS.
“I know many of you supported this critical funding source and we appreciate your time and energy. I also know that some of you were strongly opposed to the Sinking Fund and I encourage you to contact me so we may have the feedback needed as we move forward.”
Hartley said the result of the vote has prompted school officials to begin looking at what options they have when it comes to funding building repairs and construction along with school security.
“While the plan to have new HVAC in our buildings went down with the vote, we are fortunate to have Phase 3 of the 2014 bond starting in 2021-22, to replace old technology with up-to-date technology,” he said.
The Board of Education and administration have some decisions to make, and will be looking to learn from the most recent election, Hartley said.
“Because a Sinking Fund is so critical to our financial stability, we will be assessing our options for the future,” he said.
• Number of city of Fenton (Genesee County, 1,357 Fenton City/Fenton Township votes cast) voters registered in the Fenton Area Public Schools (FAPS) district: 9,168. The vote was 694 “no” to 378 “yes” votes.
• Number of Fenton Township (Genesee County, 1,357 Fenton City/Fenton Township votes cast) voters registered in the FAPS district: 1,907. The vote was 199 “no” to 86 “yes” votes.
• Number of Tyrone Township (Livingston Count, 830 votes cast) voters registered in the FAPS district: 4,524. The vote was 513 “no” to 317 “yes” votes.
• Number of Rose Township (Oakland County, 184 votes cast) voters registered in the FAPS district: 1,326. The vote was 137 “no” to 47 “yes” votes.