MAPS sinking fund millage request deserves support

Our subscribers know that The Mining Journal has consistently played a community watchdog role over the years, especially when it comes to millage requests.

For example, several years ago when the Marquette Area Public Schools asked voters to approve a bond proposal, we could not support the request because it was too large and it wasn’t designated clearly enough how the funding was to be used. We published several editorials detailing why we could not support the bond request.

That was then. This is now.

On the Aug. 5 primary ballot, the MAPS district will request a sinking fund millage of .95 mill or 95 cents on each $1,000 of taxable valuation for 10 years, from 2014 through 2023. The estimated revenue in the first year of tax collection would be about $1.1million. Over the life of MAPS sinking fund request the district would receive roughly $11 million to be put toward building maintenance and upgrades.

Sinking funds can only be used on specific types of capital projects. This is a primary – and significant – difference between this request and the bond proposal request that was made several years ago.

We have done our homework on this sinking fund millage request and sincerely believe that this request deserves a yes vote on Aug. 5. Specific areas have been identified for the money from the sinking fund millage and we believe there is a real need for this money to keep a strong, safe and successful school district.

We also feel that the current administration and school board have taken the right steps in becoming much stronger fiscally, which is another reason we feel confident in supporting this request for a sinking fund millage.

The General Fund for the MAPS district has been reduced from close to $10 million dollars down to $5 million dollars over the past seven years.

Money from the general fund is typically intended to be used for capital projects, but because the district has had to operate under deficit spending for several years due to reduced funding and declining enrollment, the general fund has been cut in half.

Some of the general fund money had to be used for other expenses including salaries and other operations. This means money needed to provide repairs of existing buildings and equipment is no longer available.

There are also many improvements needed to be done in the schools to improve safety for our students and these improvements will be paid for by money raised through this sinking fund millage.

We are asking the senior voters who are a large part of the voting block in all local elections, to pay close attention to this sinking fund millage request. If you have questions about how the money will be spent, we encourage you to contact someone from the MAPS administration team or a school board member to educate yourself of how this money will be spent.

The money from this sinking fund millage will be dedicated solely for the purpose of capital projects. A yes vote to pass this request is essential to the future success of the MAPS district. We hope all voters understand the importance of a yes vote on this request.

Approval for this request will help ensure the infrastructure of the MAPS district is in good shape through the year 2023.