New life for sinking fund proposal

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by Dylan Sowle
Williamston Post staff writer

The Williamston School Board plans to take a sinking fund proposal back to voters following its defeat on Nov. 6.

The board decided Nov. 19 to attempt to get the proposal on the ballot early in 2013. The opportunity will come in either the February or May election, but the deadline to get the proposal on the February ballot is Dec. 4.

School board members seemed to agree that a lack of knowledge on the proposal, as well as a full ballot contributed to voters turning down the sinking fund. School board member Ernie Gaffner acknowledged this issue, saying that with so many issues on the ballot, people simply lost interest.

The proposal did well within the city of Williamston where it would take effect, but lost votes in the outlying townships, the highest being 48 percent in Williamstown Township. The sinking fund is a 1-mill proposal that was intended to raise almost $400,000 in the year of 2012.

Board member Gordan Wenk said that despite putting articles in the local paper and making calls to voters before election day, more work needs to be done if the proposal is going to pass. “We need community members willing to talk and make presentations,” said Wenk. “The more folks talking about it, the better.”

One community member willing to make the effort is Robin Roberts, who plans on volunteering to get the word out about the proposal. Roberts has a daughter in the high school, and said that the sinking fund is important to allow funding to the schools at a level where they can operate safely and efficiently.

“I volunteered to go out and talk to whoever I could talk to,” said Roberts. “Not just about the facts and figures, but about what it actually means to a citizen.”

Activism like Roberts’ is what the school board is relying on to get the message out about the proposal that is intentioned to provide funds to keep the schools safe and operating efficiently. Board members noted that there were over 2,700 ‘yes’ votes for the proposal, and that with a smaller ballot, the sinking fund has a chance at being passed.

The board will decide at its next meeting whether to put the proposal on the ballot for February or May.

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