FLINT TWP. — Tom Wickham CARES about passing a half-mill increase for Carman-Ainsworth’s building and site sinking fund on the Nov. 5 ballot next week.
So does Lisa Koegel.
Both are members of C.A.R.E.S. — Carman-Ainsworth Residents for Excellent Schools, a community-based school support committee of parents and residents. C.A.R.E.S formed in 2002 to back successful passage of a $50 million bond issue that paid for a massive school renovation project. The current C.A.R.E.S group reorganized this year to support passage of ten-year millage renewals in the May election.
Voters were also asked then to approve a 0.5 mill sinking fund increase which was narrowly defeated 1,346 to 1,015.
The school board, with C.A.R.E.S. support, have put the same request to voters again on Tuesday. If voters say yes this time around, it will increase CA sinking fund millage to a total of 1.0 mills compared to a 1.4 mills countywide average sinking fund — and generate about $350,000 the first year.
Wickham has two sons attending Carman-Ainsworth Schools. He and his wife are both coaches in the FIRST LEGO League robotics program at Randels Elementary School.
“As a parent, I want my boys to learn in an environment that will best prepare them for technical jobs in the future,” Wickham said. “Approval of this millage will allow a very diverse group of Carman-Ainsworth students the opportunity to enhance their learning of science, technology, engineering and math in a setting that will encourage exploration and experimentation.”
C.A.R.E.S. is made up of residents, parents and educators who want to ensure that schools remain safe, secure and up-to-date to meet children’s educational needs, Wickham said.
The additional sinking fund millage would be used to repair and upgrade facilities — fixing parking lots and roofs, upgrading security systems and convert unused space at the middle school into a technical learning area, he said.
“As a (robotics) coach I have seen young girls take an interest in the math and sciences because of the program we help run,” Wickham said. “It’s so important to ensure they and anyone — no matter their social or economic standing — gets this chance.”
He also mentioned a young woman at his church who planned a career in music before participating in the Carman Ainsworth high school robotics team. She ended up getting a scholarship to Kettering and is pursuing an engineering career, he said.
Koegel has four children in C-A schools. The schools are the heartbeat of the community and if they are allowed to deteriorate so will the community, she said.
“The sinking fund has decreased through the years just as our property values have,” she said. “The 0.5 mill increase would help recoup the sinking fund because we still have the same number of buildings and grounds that need to be maintained.”
The cost per household would be about an extra $15 a year, she said.
Wickham added that he fully understands the position of those who say they don’t want to pay more school taxes.
“I personally don’t want to pay more in taxes but I also know that paying just a few dollars more a year to support the school district serves as an investment in my children and the children of the district,’’ he said.
Additional information about the millage request, including costs per household and potential projects, can be found on the school website at www.carman.k12.mi.us/