Fenton Area Public Schools officials say a $11 million bond proposal before voters in 2014 has the potential to fund school safety and security improvements, technology upgrades, and other equipment and infrastructure upgrades without raising taxes.
In December, the school board voted 6-1 to put the multi-million-dollar bond proposal before voters on May 6, the Tri-County Times reports.
Steadily improving property values and historically low interest rates mean the bonds issue, which the district expects would be retired in 2022, is not projected to immediately increase the current millage rate, the newspaper said, citing a press release.
“The way the taxes have been structured we have opportunities we have not had before, allowing us to go for $11 million,” Lynn Hopper, the school board president, said at quickly scheduled mid-December meeting – a workshop meeting had been on the calendar – to consider the proposal, which stemmed in part from a special Dec. 9 meeting in which the need for technology upgrades was discussed.
Taxes won’t increase for “at least for a the first year, if not longer,” Hopper said. “It all depends on property values. we look at it as a potential of no tax increase for the bond duration. It could even be a reduction in taxes on how the economy is.”
The school district’s bond rating was recently downgraded by Moody’s, to A1 from the previous Aa3, and a general fund with limited operating flexibility and the underfunded cost-sharing retirement systems financially challenge the district. School officials listed stable enrollment and a moderately sized tax base as strengths.
Board member Drew Shapiro voted against putting the measure before voters, saying he wanted to hear from more residents.