One year ago a sinking fund proposal failed to pass by a single vote. Since then, a building engineer has inspected the Perry Public Schools (PPS) facilities and identified some things that will predictably wear out or already need replacement. Those needs are the reason the PPS Board of Education has authorized that this issue be placed on the May 8, 2018 ballot for voter approval.
Prior to the May 8 election, volunteers will be passing out flyers throughout the PPS District. The flyers will provide factual information regarding the sinking fund millage election. Additionally, anyone with questions or concerns is asked to please call the Superintendent’s Office at (517) 625-3108 to speak with Superintendent Mike Foster, who will be happy to answer any questions regarding the millage. Please note that the legally required language on the ballot covers many options for a sinking fund. PPS is only interested in those listed below, and there are no plans to buy real estate or buildings.
The millage proposal will ask voters to authorize PPS to levy one mill for seven years (from 2018 through 2024). State law permits sinking fund tax revenues to be used ONLY for the construction or repair of school buildings, for school security improvements, and for the acquisition or upgrading of instructional technology, or the purchase of real estate for sites for school buildings. Consequently, school districts CANNOT use sinking fund tax revenues for teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or for “maintenance.”
However, the Michigan Department of Treasury has determined that sinking fund tax revenues CAN be used for “repairs.” Although the millage proposal authorizes the PPS to use sinking fund tax revenues for all of the purposes permitted under Michigan law, it is important to note that the PPS currently has NO plans to purchase land or real estate with sinking fund tax revenue or with any other funds. Instead, if approved, PPS currently plans to use the sinking fund monies for things like:
• replacing the main parking lot at Perry High/Middle schools
• replacing the playground and playground structures at Perry Elementary School
• adding security doors and walls at the high school and middle school (the elementary already has them)
• replacing part of the aging elementary school roof
• resurfacing the running track
• replacing the telephone system to comply with 9-1-1 security requirements
• replacing rusting boiler vent stacks around the district
• replacing broken sidewalks
• replacing football field lighting
• installing air conditioning in the remaining part of the elementary building
• replacing flooring in classrooms
In short, PPS intends to use the tax revenues from the sinking fund millage to repair and replace the aging assets and facilities within the PPS campus, as well as improving school security. A sinking fund millage provides a tremendous resource for school systems to repair and replace assets like roofs, boilers and parking lots, which have predictable, useful lives, without borrowing money (by issuing bonds) and incurring interest costs. Again, there is no plan or interest in purchasing real estate.