Voters to decide on FCS millage renewals

FLUSHING — Flushing Community Schools is asking voters to pass two school millage renewals that will be on the general election ballot.

On Nov. 3, Flushing residents will vote on a building and site sinking fund millage extension renewal and an operating millage renewal for the Flushing Community School District. Both renewals were passed in 2015 and have received overwhelming support from voters in past elections.

If approved, the building and site sinking fund millage renewal would continue to levy .75 mils on all properties (except those exempted by law) in the school district for 10 years. The millage would also provide estimated revenues of $553,939 to the school district in its first year.

FCS Superintendent Matt Shanafelt said that the building and site sinking fund provides for essential maintenance of school properties and upgrades to technology, safety and security.

“Renewing the site sinking fund is critical to maintaining boilers, parking lots, roofs, technology and security for our kids,” he said. “It allows us to preserve general fund dollars for educational needs and to put more money into the classroom and support systems for kids.”

Shanafelt said that the building and site sinking millage has been used in recent times to construct a new bus loop at Flushing High School, replace windows in elementary buildings, renovate restrooms, finish gym floors and allow for repaving work at Elms and Seymour elementary schools.

The building and site sinking fund levy of .75 mils has been approved by voters since the 1980s.

Likewise, the district’s operating millage has been approved by wide margins since the 1980s and was renewed in the 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2015 elections. If renewed this November, the operating millage will levy 18 mils on non-homestead properties (industrial and commercial real property and residential rental property) and generate an estimated $2.3 million in its first year. Personal residences are exempt from this levy.

“The district’s operating millage is used for general operating purposes, such as curriculum, support programs, operations, salaries and benefits,” Shanafelt said. “In short, it assures that we get a full foundational allowance from the state in order to operate.”

In recent years, both millages have been subject to Headlee Rollbacks. This occurs when taxable value growth is greater than the rate of inflation. By approving 19 mils for the operational millage, the district could collect the maximum of 18 mils on non-homestead properties in the event of a future rollback.

“This would allow the district to continue to receive full per pupil funding, assuring us at least the state minimum foundation allowance per student,” Shanafelt said.

Shanafelt said that passage of both millages is critical to maintaining a high level of educational services for students and keeping each building up to date.

“Although there is a great amount of upkeep that needs to take place in our buildings, we realize that this isn’t the time to ask for an increase…just a renewal of what we passed five years ago,” he said. “We greatly appreciate the support that this community has shown us in the past, and we want to continue to be a good steward of taxpayer funds.”