Posted on 02 February 2012.
Cedar Springs Public Schools has implemented millions of dollars in budget cuts over the last decade.
State funding for education has forced continued spending cuts and is forcing choice between quality education and maintaining roads and facilities. The district placed priority on keeping cuts as far from the classroom as possible. As a result, school infrastructure needs were deferred. Without an alternative source of funding, the Board of Education would be forced to divert funding from classrooms to cover school infrastructure needs. Additional budget cuts, increased class size, and/or depletion of fund balance may be necessary.
An Advisory Committee consisting of parents, staff, and community members worked together to determine a long range plan for facilities and infrastructure of Cedar Springs Public Schools by identifying the needs of the district. The priorities included: security modifications, technology infrastructure, repaving parking lots and roads, increased parking at Cedar Trails, Beach, and High School, replacement of Gym Floors at Beach and Cedar View Elementary, energy efficient boilers, and many others.
Identified facility needs can not be met within current general fund expenditures without significant budget adjustments. The Advisory Committee recommended the pursuit of a one mill sinking fund to support infrastructure needs. The February 28, 2012 election will include a ballot proposal to secure a short-term, dedicated stream of funding for basic school improvement projects for Cedar Springs Public Schools.
Sinking funds, unlike traditional tax bonds, generate a fixed amount of funds over the period of the tax and incur no interest. A one mill assessment for an owner of a $100,000 home would be fifty (50) dollars a year. Sinking funds can be used for remodeling or repairing facilities, improving sites, structures, athletic facilities, playgrounds, or other facilities; and technology infrastructure. School districts are not allowed to use funds from a sinking fund for operating expenses such as teacher, administrator or employee salaries.
The Sinking Fund would ensure funding remains in classrooms for learning, teaching, books, and technology, provide students with basic necessity of a warm, safe and dry learning environment, create efficiencies and long-term financial savings, create jobs and support of local businesses. The Sinking Fund is the means by which the District can protect the community’s investment used by our students, staff, parents, and community.