by Lindsay Dunbar
Williamston Post staff writer
The School Board of Education in Williamston has approved moving forward with its first Sinking Fund Ballot Proposal.
The state allows school districts to establish a sinking fund rather than going the traditional route of a bond.
Charles Hasemann, school board member, explains that the sinking fund will be created by gathering the local tax millage levied on all property within a district. “All properties in the district will be taxed,” said Hasemann.
The sinking fund will be used to maintain buildings. It cannot be used on small capital items such as computers, textbooks or furniture. The fund is for high-priced projects such as new boilers, flooring or roofing.
The money may not be used for operations. The fund would help maintain education by allowing building maintenance, room temperature control, lighting and overall optimal learning conditions. The money will be in a separate fund, so as to not take away from actual education expenses.
“The fund is keeping the school intact, to be used on big-dollar projects, instead of using funds we should use to teach kids,” said Hasemann.
Gordan Wenk, a board member, wants the public to know that the fund is to help maintain buildings. “The most important thing is to keep money in classrooms and to support teaching,” said Wenk.
“It really counts where teachers are out there teaching…if we need a boiler or new roof, they will be covered by a sinking fund,” said Wenk.
Steve Cook, a board member, is concerned about the current limited money the schools have.
“We get limited dollars, which we use to focus on construction as it is, the rest goes toward things like sports and transportation,” said Cook.
The schools have had to make cuts over the years and tried to keep away from the classrooms and education.
“We’re trying to compete in a competitive world, there’s already competition between the districts,” said Cook.
The district has plans for needed improvements that add up to more than a million dollars.