Marquette school sinking fund millage will reach voters in August

Most people don’t pay much attention to the August election, especially in years like this when a presidential primary isn’t on the ballot.
But the Marquette Area Public Schools are asking voters to take notice of a ballot measure that they’ll have to decide on come August 5th.

MAPS is asking for a millage to create a sinking fund. Sinking fund money is set aside for construction or repair of school buildings. It can’t be spent on personnel or other costs.

The district is asking for 0.95 mills per year for 10 years. The measure would generate about $1.1 million in tax money a year or $11 million in all.

“We haven’t made a significant investment in a long time into our buildings and our properties, and they’re starting to decay,” Marquette Area Public Schools superintendent Bill Saunders said. “We have a lot of roof issues that this would address. We really need to start taking care of some of those things.”

The district has developed a list of more than 300 projects it would like to tackle, but the sinking fund millage wouldn’t pay for all of them. It would, however, cover the costs of most of them, starting with security-related projects.

“Redoing some entranceways into our buildings, installing more cameras, doing those types of things so we have a safer environment,” Saunders said. “We’ve done some of that with some of our existing funds in some of our buildings. We haven’t been able to do that in all our buildings.”

The district is holding a public forum about the sinking fund later this month. It’s on Monday, July 21st at 5 p.m. at Graveraet School.

MAPS also has copies of the project list at its central offices for anyone who’d like them. The list will likely be available on the district’s website shortly as well.