Dear Columbia School District Family,
The Columbia School District is looking to our school community to consider a sinking fund to help with technology purchases, increase student safety and building updates. In Michigan, a Sinking Fund is a millage levied to fund school safety improvements, technology improvements, and the repair and construction of school buildings. It is a “pay as you go” system that does not require borrowing money or paying interest.
The Sinking Fund millage is calculated using the taxable value of a home, which is usually about half of the assessed value. Columbia School District is proposing a .65 mills sinking fund, which is 65 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation for ten years, if approved the increase on current tax rates would be expected to be “Net Neutral” because the districts 2022 debt millage is expected to drop by the same .65 mills amount.
Sinking Funds cannot fund regular maintenance, purchasing teaching supplies or textbooks, or paying teacher and administrator salaries. The law requires districts with Sinking Funds to keep these funds separate from other district accounts. Sinking Funds must so receive a separate audit each year to ensure they are being spent appropriately. Having a Sinking Fund to pay for safety improvements, technology improvements, and repairs would allow the district to preserve the money it receives from the state to support instruction, programs, and salaries.
To continue to provide a safe and valuable learning environment for our students and community, we took the time over the past year to assess our facilities, allowing us to identify and evaluate critical needs across our school facilities and student technology. On July 14, 2021, the Columbia School District Board of Education unanimously approved a proposition that will go to the voters on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, to consider a .65 mill Sinking Fund to make select facility improvements district-wide.
The drop in the millage that would cause this to be “Net Neutral” was made possible in part because the Columbia School Board of Education voted last winter to refund its 2013 bonds. Similar to refinancing a home at a better interest rate, the district’s taxpayers were able to benefit. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions regarding our Sinking Fund program. I encourage you to engage with the Columbia School District Board, committee members and staff members for more information.