BY: SUPERINTENDENT DAN SKEWIS
On Tuesday, August 8th, the Negaunee Public Schools will be asking the voters of the School District to cast their ballots with a request to renew a 2.5 mill Sinking Fund millage for a period of 10 years. Even though the request will appear on the ballot as a “new” Sinking Fund, it is truly a renewal. It is noted as “new” due to the language of the law requiring Districts to adopt a new millage in order to use Sinking Fund revenue to purchase technology and security equipment. These two items have just been added as allowable expenses when the new law passed in January. Negaunee Public Schools has been fortunate to have had a Sinking Fund for decades, so the request we are seeking to renew is very important to the future of the District.
In the past, the School District has used the revenue raised by the Sinking millage to repair the roofs on all the school buildings, repair the heating and ventilation system in the Middle School, replace the lockers at the Middle School, upgrade the fixtures in the bathrooms at both the Middle and High School, replace flooring at all the school buildings, replace the windows in the Administration Building, replace the exterior doors at all the school buildings, remodeling of a building classroom into a science lab, upgraded the heating and lighting systems at Lakeview, install handrails at the Lakeview gym and football stadium, construct new tennis courts and expand the football practice field. This is only a partial list of the upgrades we have been able to accomplish.
These projects have helped to provide a safe and healthy environment for our students, staff and the many members of the community who use our buildings in the evenings and on the weekends. As a result of these many projects, we have experienced a savings in our utility bills, which in turn has allowed the District to invest more of our General Fund revenues into instruction and classroom supplies. Without the Sinking Fund, the District would not have been able to do many of these projects. With the financial support from the State declining in the past ten years, the majority of our revenue in the General Fund has been devoted to supporting teaching and learning. As with our own homes, we must continue to maintain our buildings to keep them in a safe and usable condition. The Sinking Fund has allowed the District to establish and follow a preventive maintenance plan for our school buildings.
Projects planned for the future include a new entrance, concession stand and handicapped accessible bathrooms at Lakeview Memorial Gym, continuation of flooring replacements at all the school buildings, renovation of the Middle School science lab and Lakeview greenhouse, replacement of sidewalks around the school entrances along with several other items. As was mentioned earlier, new legislation that was passed earlier this year will now allow Districts to use new Sinking Fund revenue to purchase technology and security updates throughout its buildings. This will be a huge benefit as we are continuously adding to the ever changing technology needs, and it will also allow us to continue to ensure that all of our students are safe when coming to school each morning.
On behalf of the Board of Education, I’d like to thank the residents for their continued support and for investing in our schools.
Superintendent of Schools