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Voters to consider sinking fund proposal

Kentwood — A sinking fund for Kentwood Public Schools, if approved by voters on Tuesday, Feb. 27, would replace an expiring levy, allowing for the district to keep facilities in shape and up-to-date over the next 10 years.

Sinking funds are a source of funding for school districts that can be spent on such things as school security improvements, technology purchases and upgrades and the repair and renovation of school buildings as they become necessary. Funds cannot be used for operating expenses, employee salaries and benefits.

“It’s for ongoing repairs to our buildings and facilities, which are a point of pride in our community,” said Superintendent Kevin Polston. “We are incredibly thankful for the ongoing support of the KPS community.”

The February proposal, for a 1.5718 mill levy, would replace the district’s current sinking fund, which expires in 2026. The new sinking fund would have the same levy of 1.5718 mills through 2035. According to the district’s sinking fund presentation and other information from KPS, the fund would generate about $4.18 million over 10 years. 

The district has used its current sinking fund to upgrade HVAC systems, add air conditioning to all classrooms, replace four buses each year and provide devices for all sixth- through 12th-graders and devices on carts for all kindergarten through fifth-graders. Parking lots are also on a 10-year replacement cycle, and the district is currently planning to expand its camera coverage in all buildings.

Without a sinking fund, districts have to rely on operational fund money used for operating costs including classroom learning or bond funds.

“What we don’t want to do is take money out of the classroom to pay for capital needs,” Polston said.

Other past projects funded by the district’s sinking fund have included district-wide safety lighting, roof replacements, boiler replacements, the Falcon Stadium track replacement and bleacher replacements at Crestwood Middle School’s Pat Patterson Field.

Absentee voting has already begun and early in-person voting begins nine days ahead of Election Day, Feb. 27, which is also the Presidential primary election.

Read more from Kentwood: 
District invests in web of support for students’ health, well-being
Students connect their dream careers, colleges

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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