Sparta sinking fund renewal on Nov. 5 ballot

A bond approval in 2017 gave Sparta Area Schools the go ahead on new construction - middle school is expected to open in fall 2020

District officials want to make sure constituents understand what the upcoming ballot request to renew its sinking fund levy will and won’t pay for, and that if approved, won’t raise property taxes. A similar request failed in May by a vote of 951 no to 800 yes votes.

The request on the Nov. 5 ballot asks for a 10-year renewal of 1.2373 mills currently assessed.

“The board felt that the May ballot request caused some confusion by new sinking fund regulations that allow revenues to be used for technology and safety as well as construction and repair of existing facilities,” said Superintendent Pete Bush.

“New laws allow districts to ask for sinking funds to be used for technology and safety improvements, but we feel that the bond request passed by our voters in 2017 covers those things.”

The request is “simply a renewal of one passed — first in 2000 and then again in 2010 — which allows us to collect funds into a savings account for necessary facility repairs,” he said.

If approved, the tax would generate approximately $640,000 annually. Sparta property owners with a home valued at $100,000 now pay less than $5 per month for the sinking fund tax. If the millage fails, the current sinking fund millage will end this year.

A sinking fund is a savings account where districts may hold voter-approved local millage revenue in order to pay for unexpected projects or repairs. During the last 10 years, funds have been used for repairs or replacement of roofs, HVAC, boilers and concrete and asphalt needs.

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Janice Holst
Janice Holst has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and is thrilled to spend some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.

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