By David Fleet
Goodrich —On Nov. 8, voters in the Goodrich Area Schools district will be asked to consider a 1 mill sinking fund tax levy. If approved, this levy will create a fund, over a period of 10 years, to provide for additional improvements and repairs of school facilities. A sinking fund is an account into which a local school district can deposit voter approved local millage revenue in order to pay for projects or repairs as they arise.
“The sinking fund is necessary to maintain what the district has,” said Wayne Wright, district superintendent. “A sinking fund allows us to buy technology, do major repairs such as a boiler or roof repair.”
If supported, this millage will levy 1 mill or $1 on each $1,000 of a home’s taxable valuation. Over a period of 10 years this will total approximately $571,000 per year. These funds can be used for technology and facility upgrades, and site improvements without impacting the district’s operating budget.
“Goodrich is one of the few schools in the area that does not currently have a sinking fund,” he said. “It’s difficult to pull the money out of the general fund.”
Sinking funds provide districts with a cost-effective alternative to borrowing through short or long-term bonds, because they require none of the associated interest costs or legal fees. A sinking fund allows districts to have money on-hand to pay for projects.
“People can look to see what the district did with the bond,” said Wright. “We built a gymnasium, many school safety features, technology and cameras. So, it really improved the district facilities. We spent exactly as we said we were going to.”
In the Spring of 2019, the board of education hired two firms to conduct a Facility Conditions Analysis or FCA. According to the report the district needs exceeded $64 million. Then on Aug. 4, 2020, district voters approved a $20,930,00 bond extension proposal. Some of the improvements include, Oaktree Elementary gymnasium and Innovation Lab; Goodrich Middle School has a more secure entrance; new interactive boards; sound systems and teaching whiteboards. A sinking fund is the second phase of that four-phase, 12-year plan.
By David Fleet