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Howell Public Schools ‘Securing our Future’ Sinking Fund on the ballot Nov. 6 – what will it mean to the district?

What is the Securing Our Future Sinking Fund?

The Howell Public Schools Board of Education has placed a sinking fund proposal, with no expected tax rate increase, on the November 6, 2018 ballot.

If passed, the Howell Public Schools Securing Our Future Sinking Fund will provide the district with approximately 1.3 million dollars annually for the next ten years to fund security upgrades and perform major repair projects throughout the district.

Due to the district’s expected declining debt levy, this .5 mill proposal is not expected to result in a tax increase for residents. Instead, it would freeze the current combined sinking fund and debt levy at 6.30 mills for the first year. After the first year, the total levy is expected to begin to decline with the district’s debt being paid off by 2029.

Debt Levy Chart


The Need

Howell Public Schools has worked diligently over the past decade to maintain its facilities and building security to the best of its abilities with limited resources. While the costs of educating students have increased, state funding for education has not kept pace with the increased costs. To keep cuts away from the classroom, the district has deferred many major repair projects. While the district’s facilities remain in good condition, there is a need for funds to complete security upgrades and major repair projects that the district’s general fund cannot support.

 Security Upgrades
Security Camera Photo
  • The district’s building access system (keycards) is more than 15 years old. While still functional, it does not incorporate the latest technology. Newer systems allow for real-time monitoring of door access, doors that are ajar and provide a means to lock-down a building with the push of a button.
  • Many of the district’s security cameras are outdated analog cameras that do not provide high-resolution images.
  • Working with local law enforcement, the district has identified several areas where it can increase perimeter security at its buildings. This could include bollards near main entrances and fencing to secure student walkways.
 Major Repair Projects 
  • The average lifespan of a heating and cooling system is 20 years. The average age of these systems in district buildings is 26 years old.
  • The average lifespan of a school roof is 15-20 years. On average the roofs on the district’s buildings are 21 years old.
  • The average age of the carpet in the district’s classrooms is 26 years old. On average commercial grade carpet has a lifespan of 15-20 years.
 HVAC Unit
What is a Sinking Fund?

A sinking fund is a millage approved by taxpayers in a school district. The funds generated by the millage may be used for the purchase of real estate, the construction or repair of school buildings, for school security improvements, or for the acquisition or upgrading of technology.

Should voters choose to pass the Howell Public Schools Securing Our Future Sinking Fund Millage, the district would not use the funds to purchase real estate or upgrade technology. Upgrades to the district’s instructional technology are funded by the Technology Bond that voters approved in 2015.


What is the Difference Between a Sinking Fund and a Bond?

School Bonds Sinking Fund
  • Used to generate one-time funds
  • Not meant to be used for ongoing repairs
  • Subject to interest rates and fees
  • Used to collected funds each year for major repairs, renovations, and security upgrades
  • Levied, not borrowed, which means the district does not take on additional debt

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