Voters in the White Pigeon school district will be asked to renew a three-mill ‘sinking fund’ tax levy for five years during the election on May 8th.
The White Pigeon Community Schools Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday evening (January 18th) to submit the renewal proposal to voters during the upcoming election.
The action came after a presentation by Eric Hackman of TowerPinkster, the firm of architects and engineers that has been working with the school district to develop plans for a variety of projects over a five-year period – 2013 through 2017 – to maintain and improve school facilities. In his presentation, Hackman noted four priorities underlying the program:
- Keep within the current millage rate
- Maintain building infrastructure
- Improve safety
- Improve educational quality.
Here are key points identified in regard to the proposed sinking fund renewal:
- No millage increase
- 3 mills generates approximately $1,000,000 each year
- Over 5 years will generate approximately $5,000,000
- Pay as you go – generated funds will not be spent on financing or interest rates
- Funds cannot be used for salaries, buses, textbooks, furniture or equipment.
A sinking fund millage has been in place for five years, generating revenue that has enabled the school district to accomplish a variety of tasks including the following improvements:
- Roof and fascia replacement
- Window replacement
- HVAC replacement
- High school bleacher replacement
- Entry door replacement
- Boiler replacement
- Light fixture replacement
- High school student locker replacement
During a post-meeting interview with the River Country Journal, Joe Komins, president of the White Pigeon Community Schools Board of Education, reflected on the improvements over the last five years and said, “We’ve been very happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish.” Looking to renewal of the sinking fund millage, Komins said, “It really is a ‘win/win’ situation for both the schools and the taxpayers.” (Joe Komins audio clip – :20)
Superintendent Ron Drzewicki also participated in the post-meeting interview. He discussed the consensus building process that led to Wednesday’s board action to put the renewal proposal on the ballot in May and noted that it started officially last August. (Ron Drzewicki audio clip - :28)
Komins indicated he was very pleased with the process through which the sinking fund renewal proposal was developed and said the community “did a great job” in focusing on things that are really needed: (Joe Komins audio clip – :21)
Drzewicki noted that “plumbing infrastructure” at both the Central Elementary and high school buildings is “a major piece” of the improvements to be paid for through the sinking fund millage renewal. (Ron Drzewicki audio clip – :34)
With the May 8th election on the renewal proposal now set, Drzewicki explained that a ‘YES! Campaign’ kick-off meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 13th, at the high school to get information out in advance of the May balloting. The meeting will get underway at 6:30 p.m. (Ron Drzewicki audio clip – :27)
Regarding the sinking fund renewal proposal, Drzewicki said, “This is a common sense approach to making our schools high quality and something we can be proud of and we’re hoping for our community’s support come May 8th.”
To access additional information about the sinking fund renewal proposal from the White Pigeon Community Schools website – including the handout from the Wednesday evening presentation – click on the following link: Sinking Fund Renewal Info
To hear the interview with Ron Drzewicki and Joe Komins – conducted by Bruce Snook of the River Country Journal – click here (5:31 – 5.05 MB).