What is a Sinking Fund?
A sinking fund is a savings account into which a local school district can deposit voter-approved local millage revenue in order to pay cash for the most urgent building projects or repairs as they arise. Sinking funds provide districts with a cost-effective alternative to borrowing or bonding for some expenditures because they require none of the associated legal fees or incurred interest.
What can Sinking Fund dollars be used for?
It used to be that funds generated through a sinking fund can only be used for renovation, repair, and construction of buildings, but recent legislation has allowed for expanded use. This expanded use now covers some expenses related to safety, security, and technology. Sinking fund dollars cannot be used for any operating expenses such as salaries, benefits, or routine maintenance. In addition, the money cannot be used for textbooks or bus replacement.
What are some examples of Sinking Fund projects the district would investigate if the replacement passes?
With the expansion of use to include safety, security, and technology, the district may seek to:
Install more security cameras inside and outside of each school:
Security cameras offer mostly forensic evidence, but they can also be a deterrent. In addition, they can serve as a valuable resource for responding officers if they are able to tap into a live feed of the building to see inside. With the Sinking Fund dollars, we may be able to install security cameras that would give police a window into the ongoing activity, shortening the time between response and results.
Install BluePoint Emergency Alert System in every school:
The BluePoint system provides pull stations (similar to fire alarm pulls) that anyone in the building can utilize to call a Lockdown. Once pulled, police are immediately notified, building occupants are notified via flashing strobe lights and an audio sound, and text/email/voice alerts are sent to district staff who can begin to respond to the crisis. In addition, the system can be tied to specific doors, closing off sections of the school building and preventing an intruder from quickly moving throughout the school. To learn more, visit:
Install security cameras on each school bus:
School bus camera systems are helpful in instances of bullying or unsafe behavior. The driver's main responsibility on the bus is to safely transport the students to and from school. Security cameras can offer an additional set of eyes without requiring additional staff onboard.
Provide a GPS bus tracking app for families to know the whereabouts of their child's bus and the approximate time of arrival:
In some cases, students may wait for a bus in the morning for longer than expected. In very cold temperatures or dark conditions, this may create a problematic situation. With a GPS app, students would be able to track the bus and head outside just prior to its arrival.
Install bullet-proof glass or glass film:
Glass doors and windows provide lines of sight that are critical for positive relationships and security visibility. That said, they may make the building more vulnerable in an active shooter situation. Strategic placement of film can deter unwanted individuals for up to two minutes, which is the approximate response time of Bloomfield Township Police. In addition, those critical two minutes would give occupants time to fully enact a Lockdown.
Place bollards outside of main school entrances:
A bollard is a fixed post or object that presents a clear, visible barrier for off-limit or sensitive areas. They are often designed to withstand high-impact vehicle collisions and are ideal for schools with vulnerable populations. The most common bollards are metal, stone, cement, or plastic. In the event of a collision near the school, a bollard may prevent a wayward vehicle from accidentally hitting a pedestrian.
What is Bloomfield Hills Schools requesting on the May ballot?
On May 8, 2018, voters in Bloomfield Hills Schools will be asked to consider a .7165 mill, six-year sinking fund replacement (to replace the existing sinking fund, set to expire in December of 2018). The sinking fund would generate approximately $2,500,000 each year which would be used for specific purposes, as set forth by the State of Michigan. Thanks to new legislation, acceptable use of sinking fund dollars has been expanded to include safety, security, and technology.