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Residents to vote on school sinking fund millage

The Cedar Springs Public School District is asking voters to vote YES on November 2 extend the 1 mil sinking fund millage—income that has made possible a multitude of district repairs. 

“We are asking voters to extend a millage they are currently paying to provide continued support for the district’s efforts to provide quality facilities for our students and guests,” said Superintendent Scott Smith. “This will not be a new addition to their property taxes. Strong communities build strong schools and strong schools build stronger communities. The two go hand in hand.”

Originally approved in 2012, the sinking fund has been used to help the District maintain its buildings and grounds over the last ten years. Major projects have included Turf Replacement – Red Hawk Stadium; Secure entrances – Cedar Trails, Red Hawk, CSHS; Track Resurfacing – Red Hawk Stadium; New parking lots – CSHS, Cedar Trails, Cedar View; New Gym Floors – Cedar Trails and Cedar View; New Boiler – Cedar View; Repaving of district parking lots and roadways; and LED Lighting retrofit across the district.

District officials want to make sure constituents understand how the upcoming ballot request will be used to make additional improvements on campus.

In Michigan, schools are able to use a Sinking Fund as a millage (tax) levied to support school safety improvements, technology improvements, and the repair and construction of school buildings and facilities. It is a “pay as you go” system that does not require a district to borrow money or pay interest.

The request on the Nov. 2 ballot asks voters to extend the current sinking fund millage of 1 mil for an additional 10 years. If approved, the district has plans to continue to make upgrades to its facilities designed to enhance the experiences for students and visitors to the campus. Key improvements in the areas of health and wellness, technology, and safety include:

● Safety and security upgrades

● Continuing to provide each student with personal technology

● Adding fitness based features to our elementary playgrounds

● Upgrading the tennis courts

● Upgrading the baseball and softball fields

● Adding a campus fitness trail

● Adding pickleball courts

● Replacing the track in Red Hawk Stadium

● Replacing water fountains with water bottle refilling stations

● New technology infrastructure

● Replacing the Agriculture Science storage building

● Updates to district signage

“The renewal of our sinking fund millage is vital to making continued progress on our comprehensive facilities plan,” stated Chief Financial Officer, Chris LaHaie.

The current construction bond approved in 2020 is addressing the district’s critical facility needs. However, that bond does not address long term technology, maintenance and other enhancement projects a renewal of the existing sinking fund will help provide.

“The sinking fund provides us with a savings account to use for necessary facilities repairs, and this renewal would allow us to enhance many s  other important updates that were not included in the 2020 bond,” LaHaie said.

The new sinking fund ballot language also allows for the district to use funds for technology and security, two categories that were not allowable when the sinking fund millage passed in 2012.

This language change causes the ballot to state it is an increase, rather than a renewal, of the existing millage. “Rest assured, it’s still the same 1 mill,” states LaHaie.

If approved, the tax would generate approximately $718,000 annually. Cedar Springs property owners with a home valued at $100,000 now pay less than $9 per month for the sinking fund tax. If the millage fails, the current-sinking fund millage will end this year.

Visit bit.ly/SinkingFundNov2 for more information.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union

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