Sinking fund would refresh technology, roofs for Columbia School District

BROOKLYN, MI – A declining fund before Columbia School District voters raise $5.2 million to upgrade the district’s technology for students while helping to replace roofs.

The sinking fund is on the ballot for voters in Jackson, Lenawee, Washtenaw and Hillsdale counties on Nov. 2. The proposal seeks approval of 0.65 mills — $0.65 on every $1,000 in taxable valuation — for 10 years, from 2022 to 2031. find the language of the sinking fund here.

Overall, the new millage would result in a “net zero” impact for taxpayers, said Columbia School District Superintendent Pam Campbell, after the district chose to refinance the debt on its 2013 bonds last spring.

The district expects to levy $2.15 million in December on the $30.6 million, 30-year millage, Campbell said, after levying $2.8 million in 2020 and 2021. The difference — $0.65 million — means taxpayers would pay the same amount in taxes on the district’s capital and technology projects as a result of the refinancing.

In subsequent years, taxpayers will pay even less, Campbell said, with real estate values ​​expected to increase.

“That’s the beauty of it for us,” Campbell said. “Basically, it keeps things constant with the net neutral cost.”

If approved, the sinking fund would help Columbia continue to renew student laptops, with another 500 expected to be replaced in the next two to three years, Campbell said.

A few years later, another 1,000 laptops have to be replaced after being purchased last year with primary and secondary school emergency funds, which are part of the US rescue plan’s COVID-19 stimulus package.

“We’re a one-to-one district with Chromebooks, so our students really use Chromebooks every day, really K-12.”

The district also wants to replace some classroom smartboards that are obsolete in elementary school, Campbell said.

The district also needs to replace a number of roofs on its buildings, some of which were last replaced around 1999 when Columbia made additions to buildings, Campbell said. Along with the rooftops, the district will have to replace some HVAC units on top of those buildings with more efficient units, she said.

Other potential purchases of sinking funds could include refinishing some parking lots that need repair and renovation into some “accordion” walls that need more permanent replacements conducive to learning, Campbell said.

“We’re just really excited to have this opportunity to continue to provide an excellent environment for our students and staff, and be really good stewards of the funds we get from the community and make sure we do that excellent continue the learning process. environment for our students,” said Campbell.

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