2019 Fenton Area Public Schools
Sinking Fund Proposal

FENTON AREA PUBLIC SCHOOLS SINKING FUND MILLAGE PROPOSAL

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 Jaw; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2020 is approximately $2,110,292

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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?

2019 Sinking Fund
2019 sinking fund graphic showing allocation of funds
graph highlight how the money raised from the sinking fund will be used

Dear Fenton Area Public Schools Community,

Our current Sinking Fund millage expires in December of 2019.  Our Sinking Fund has been critical to our school district in the past when it comes to repairing and maintaining our school buildings, along with other items such as our athletic complexes, boilers and parking lots.  FAPS has always used the Sinking Fund to make sure our students are learning in spaces that are safe and up to date. In August, we will be placing a new Sinking Fund on the ballot and will ask our community to increase the expiring 10 year Sinking Fund millage of 1 mil to a new 10 year Sinking Fund millage of 2.25 mills.  The reason for this increase 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. This new legislation is great news due to the fact that, if the new Sinking Fund is approved by our community, we can set goals and create rigorous plans not based on “what if a Bond passes” but rather based on a consistent revenue each year.  We have made great strides in the areas of quality facilities, school security and instructional technology thanks to our community approving both our current Sinking Fund and 2014 Bond. 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.

Along with maintaining quality facilities, enhancing school security and progressing in instructional technology, a new Sinking Fund will allow us 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.

In the near future, I will be visiting each building to inform our staff and our PTO’s of what this Sinking Fund will allow us to do as a school community.  I will also be holding informational meetings through the months of May and June. We are fortunate to have such supportive families and community members within FAPS and I am excited to what the future holds.

Sincerely,

Dr. Adam Hartley
Superintendent

Upcoming Informational Meetings

Community Informational Open Houses

Monday, May 6th 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
North Road Elementary School

Wednesday, May 15th 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
AGS Middle School

Monday, May 20th 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Ellen Street Campus

Wednesday, May 22nd 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Tomek-Eastern Elementary School

Wednesday, May 29th 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
State Road Elementary School

Wednesday, June 5th 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Fenton High School

Coffee and Conversation with the Superintendent

Friday, May 17th 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Administration Building

Thursday, June 13th 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Administration Building

Thursday, July 25th 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Administration Building

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. In the past, school districts could not use Sinking Funds for security or technology and only use the funds for repairs and construction of buildings. Under new legislation, a school district can now levy up to 3 mills for up to 10 years with voter approval. These funds are used to continue to maintain facilities and to enhance both security and instructional technology. 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, security or technology. 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.

Tax Rates
graph showing sinking fund effect on taxes
F.A.Q's

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 Jaw; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2020 is approximately $2,110,292

How much is the new sinking fund?
Fenton Area Public Schools is proposing 2.25 mills for 10 years.

The new Sinking Fund will be used for facility upgrades and repair, school security, technology needs and Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems in all buildings.

Please see the costs per household under the “Tax Rates” tab.

I’m going to be out of town on August 6th, 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.

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 approved by voters?
Yes, and we truly appreciate the investment in our students and district to ensure we do not have to utilize a large portion of our general fund expenditures on non-instructional efforts.  Please click on the tab above (Tax Rates) to see the estimated rate of how your taxes will increase with the passage of the new Sinking Fund sinking fund.

What technology can be purchased with sinking fund dollars?
Any technology that supports our efforts in the area of teaching and learning.  Please see our 2014 Bond webpage here  to see the various technologies we have invested in to support our learners and staff.  Technology is a key component to prepare our students for both college and careers in the 21st century.

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, which includes its well-maintained facilities, robust technology plan, and pro-active security systems. Additionally, this  will allow us to provide new climate control systems in each of our school buildings. 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

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.

When was the last time a Sinking Fund was on the Ballot?
The last time the district placed a Sinking Fund proposal on a ballot was in 2009.  That Sinking Fund was approved and expires in December of 2019.

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?
FAPS proposed sinking fund will generate approximately $2 million dollars per year for 10 years. These funds will support the short term and long term goals of the district in the areas of facilities, technology, security and HVAC.

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.

What does HVAC stand for?
HVAC is an acronym for Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning.

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Informational Videos

School Finance 101 with Dr. Adam Hartley and Dr. Doug Busch.

Technology in our Schools with Dr. Adam Hartley and Kevin Powers.

Operations and Facility Maintenance with Dr. Adam Hartley and Joe Humpert.

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