The Howell Public Schools Board of Education has approved placing a no tax rate increase sinking fund proposal on the November ballot. If passed, The Howell Public Schools Securing Our Future Sinking Fund will provide the district with approximately $1.2 million annually for the next 10 years to fund security upgrades and perform major maintenance projects throughout the district. Due to the district’s declining debt levy, this .5 mill proposal will not result in a tax increase for residents of the district; instead, it would freeze the current debt levy of 6.30 mills for the first year. After the first year, the debt levy would begin to decline with the district’s debt being paid off by 2029.
Under Michigan law, a sinking fund millage can fund the purchase of real estate sites, the construction or repair of school buildings and facilities, security upgrades and instructional technology upgrades. As part of its planning, the district has identified several areas of need that the Securing Our Future Sinking Fund can address. These include updated security cameras, an upgraded building and room access system, perimeter security, roof repairs and replacements, heating and cooling systems upgrades and replacements, flooring replacement and general building upkeep. Thanks to the Technology Bond approved by voters in 2015, Howell Public Schools will not be including technology upgrades in its sinking fund proposal. By law, a sinking fund cannot be used to purchase school buses, pay teacher or staff salaries or fund general district operations.
“As part of our long-term planning, we have identified several areas of need in the district. These include security upgrades and enhancements, major maintenance projects, and curriculum needs. These are all costly items that our general fund cannot support without reducing current services,” said Erin MacGregor, Howell Public Schools superintendent. “If passed, the Securing Our Future Sinking Fund will provide ongoing funding for security upgrades and major maintenance projects, which will relieve pressure on the general fund to allow for curriculum updates and enhancements.”
With the Board’s action, the district will now submit the proposal language to the Livingston County Clerk Elections Division. Once the proposal is approved the district will begin planning community meetings to share information on the Securing Our Future Sinking Fund proposal. As those dates are set, they will be shared on the district’s website, social media and with the local media.