Thank you to everyone who attended theSinking Fund Renewal Informational Panel Discussion at the Fenton Community Center on Wednesday October 16th 2019. Please find a link to download the powerpoint presentation below if you missed the meeting and would like to learn more.
Download Here

2019 Fenton Area Public Schools Sinking Fund Renewal

Fenton Area Public Schools Sinking Fund RENEWAL – VOTE November 5th

This proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the building and site sinking fun millage that expires with the 2019 tax levy.

Shall the currently authorized millage rate of .8999 mill ($0.8999 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) which may be assessed against all property in the Fenton Area Public Schools, Genesee, Livingston and Oakland Counties, Michigan, be renewed for a period of 3 years, 2020, 2021, 2022, to continue to provide for a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings 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 $820,000 (this is a renewal of millage with will expire with the 2019 tax levy)?

What is a Sinking Fund?

  • A Sinking Fund is a millage approved by the community and levied to support the maintenance, repair and construction of school buildings. 
  • A Sinking Fund does not require a school district to borrow money or pay interest. 
  • These funds are used to continue to maintain our facilities and protect the general fund when it comes to keeping our buildings up to date.
  • Sinking Funds cannot be used for purchasing teaching supplies or textbooks, paying teacher and administrator salaries.
  • The law requires districts with Sinking Funds to keep the funds separate from other district accounts. 
  • Sinking Funds receive a separate review each year to ensure they are being spent appropriately. 

How will the passage of the sinking fund RENEWAL benefit students and the community?

  • Protect the community’s prior investments in the school district’s buildings and facilities.
  • Continue to provide our students a safe, secure and healthy environment.
  • Reduce pressure on the general fund so more of the school district’s limited educational operating funds are available to support student learning (i.e. curriculum and staffing).
  • Maintain our goals to provide high quality learning facilities for staff and students. This represents a major part of the district’s effort to keep and attract residents.
  • If the renewal does not pass, building and grounds repair and maintenance costs would have to come from the general fund.

What Does a Sinking Fund Renewal Mean?

  • Our current Sinking Fund expires in December of 2019.
  • Families living within the Fenton Area Public School District (FAPS) will continue to be levied .899 mils each year fort he next three years (2020, 2021, 20222).  Example: A person owning a home worth $200,000 (taxable value of $100,000) will be assessed approximately $90 a year.
  • The estimated $800,000 levied through the Sinking Fund by the school district each year, that is earmarked for buildings and grounds, will allow for the school district to continue using general fund dollars given by the state to invest in teaching and learning resources, curriculum and staffing.

Download our informational flyer regarding the November 2019 Sinking Fund Renewal Proposal

The Need in Our School Buildings

Below are the amounts spent on building repair and maintenance over the past three (3) years. These costs were funded by current sinking fund dollars and not out of the general fund budget. Visit the ‘School Maintenance Costs’ tab below for a more detailed breakdown of these costs.

illustrating showing how much money is spent on maintenance at FAPS buildings

 

Heidie Ciesielski Photograph“A school district’s primary responsibility is to provide teaching and learning.  To be able to fulfill that primary responsibility, school districts utilize a sinking fund to ensure our facilities are providing a safe and secure learning environment.  Having a sinking fund enables our district to allocate sinking fund dollars to provide an appropriate learning environment.   In turn, a sinking fund allows us to utilize general fund dollars towards our primary responsibility: teaching and learning.”

Heidie Ciesielski, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning

 

Brad Jones Photograph“One of things that makes Fenton so special are the many opportunities our students have. We are lucky to live in a community where arts and athletics, in addition to academics, are supported. The sinking fund renewal will allow Fenton to maintain our facilities and continue to give our students these special opportunities.”

Brad Jones, Fenton High School Teacher Swim Coach

 

Keith Reynolds Photograph“The sinking fund is essential for the preservation of indoor and outdoor facilities in which our kids learn and our community can enjoy.”

Keith Reynolds, Fenton School Board President

 

 

Bob Burek Photograph“We need to take care of the infrastructure we have.”

Bob Burek, Former Superintendent of FAPS

What Is A Sinking Fund?

What Is A Sinking Fund

A Sinking Fund is a millage approved by the community and levied to support the repair and construction of school buildings. A Sinking Funds does not require a school district to borrow money or pay interest. The millage is calculated using the taxable value of a home, which is usually about half of the assessed value. These funds are used to continue to repair and upgrade facilities. Sinking Funds cannot be used for purchasing teaching supplies or textbooks, paying teacher and administrator salaries, or other items that do not fall within the areas of building repair/construction. The law requires districts with Sinking Funds to keep the funds separate from other district accounts. Sinking Funds receive a separate review each year to ensure they are being spent appropriately. Sinking Funds allow school districts to pay for safety improvements, technology improvements, and repairs that will ultimately allow the district to preserve general fund money it receives from the state to support the many costs of running a quality school district such as instruction, programs, and salaries.

F.A.Q's

How much is the sinking fund renewal?
The Fenton Area Public Schools Sinking Fund Renewal rate will be .899 mils each year for the next 3 years (2020, 2021, 2022).

Why is the Sinking Fund on the November 5, 2019 ballot?

Our current Sinking Fund expires on December 31, 2019.

In order to RENEW the current Sinking Fund at .899 for 3 years, we must have the language on the November ballot.

Each precinct includes a variety of issues and some have only the FAPS Sinking Fund. For example, the City of Fenton ballot includes mayor and city council, while Rose Township only has the FAPS Sinking Fund RENEWAL.

It is critical that the school district ask for a renewal before the current Sinking Fund expires.

I’m going to be out of town on November 5th, can I still vote?
Yes, recent changes to the absentee ballot process allows all eligible and registered voters in Michigan to now be able to request an absent voter ballot without providing a reason. Requests to have an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by your city or township clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election.

If you’re already registered at your current address, you can pick up an absent voter ballot in person at your clerk’s office anytime up to 4 p.m. on the day prior to the election. If you’re registering to vote or updating your address by appearing at your clerk’s office on Election Day, you can request an absent voter ballot at the same time you register.

Learn more about Absentee Ballots on the Michigan Department of State website: https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1633_8716_8728-21037–,00.html

Can the sinking fund money be used to pay for more teachers?
Money generated through a Sinking Fund is restricted in its use. Until a recent law change Sinking Fund revenue was only allowed to be used for the maintenance and building of school facilities. The recent change in law enables school districts to use the revenue to also be used for security and technology upgrades. Sinking Fund money is not allowed to be used to pay staff, administrators or teachers and cannot be used to buy new buses or any instructional materials and supplies.

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(xulpsymgmzog1jknlawnpogf))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-380-1212

What is the difference between a sinking fund and a bond?
A sinking fund is a pay as you go collection of tax dollars to address specific district repairs to buildings, security issues, technology upgrades.  A bond is structured similar to a loan where the school district pays both the interest and principal to investors that purchased the bonds. While both can pay for similar items, state law restricts that neither can pay for salaries, benefits, or teaching supplies.

How does a sinking fund preserve general fund dollars?
The sinking fund dollars provide an avenue for increasing security, repair or construction of buildings, or purchasing technology without affecting the general operation of the district. In the event that a roof or septic field fails, having these dollars to make repairs does not put a burden on the general fund, which is used for the day to day operations of the school district (88% of the general fund is used to pay our FAPS staff).

Will my tax rate increase if the renewal is approved by voters?
No, the Sinking Fund will be renewed at is current rate.

Why is the district in need of a Sinking Fund?
The passage of a sinking fund would allow Fenton Area Public Schools to responsibly invest in its physical infrastructure. Most importantly, the sinking fund will allow Fenton Area Public Schools to maintain a commitment to funding teacher salaries, instructional programming, and classroom supply needs from its general fund.

Links for more information on state funding:

http://education.msu.edu/ed-policy-phd/pdf/Michigan-School-Finance-at-the-Crossroads-A-Quarter-Center-of-State-Control.pdf

https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2019/michigan-schools-face-nations-worst-decline-in-state-education-funding/

https://www.fundmischools.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/School-Finance-Research-Collaborative-Report.pdf

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/reports/2019/02/12/466104/case-federal-funding-school-infrastructure/

https://hechingerreport.org/when-school-districts-cant-raise-funds-for-facilities/

https://hechingerreport.org/special-reports/districtsindebt/

Does the district go into debt and pay interest on sinking fund dollars?
No, this process involves collecting the dollars on a yearly basis and is a pay as you go process.

Can sinking fund dollars be used to pay salaries and benefits?
No, expenses will be audited annually for compliance with Michigan Department of Treasury guidelines.

Can the sinking funds be used to repair and/or upgrade athletic sites and performance venues?
Yes

How much revenue will the sinking fund generate?
The FAPS sinking fund will generate approximately $800,000 per year for 3 years. These funds support the school district in maintaining the facilities that are enjoyed and used by our students, staff and the Fenton community.

How will passage of the sinking fund millage benefit students and the community?
If approved, the money raised through the Building and Site Sinking Fund millage will:

  • Protect the community’s prior investments in the school district’s buildings and facilities.
  • Continue to provide our students a safe, secure and healthy environment.
  • Reduce pressure on the general fund so more of the school district’s limited educational operating funds are available to support student learning.
  • Maintain our goals to provide high quality learning facilities for staff and students. This represents a major part of the district’s effort to keep and attract residents.
Submit A Question

Submit a Question Here

School Maintenance Costs

Did you know that Fenton Area Public Schools maintains 658,629 square feet of facilities and approximately 184 acres of land? Income generated by a Sinking Fund is only allowed to support the maintenance, repair and construction of these school facilities.

Click the links below for breakdown of how the current revenue generated by the sinking fund has been used in our school building over the last 3 years.

Elementary School Buildings

Ellen Street Campus and AGS Middle School

Fenton High School

Are you interested in learning about the Fenton Area Public Schools 2014 Bond and how this funding has, and is going to be, spent to enhance learning opportunities for our students?

Start typing and press Enter to search