Brandywine building and site fund vote coming May 3

On May 3, voters in the Brandywine Community School District will be asked to vote on a proposal for a building and site fund for the district.

The ballot will ask voters to vote on a one-mill levy for 10 years for building and site work to maintain the district’s buildings.

These kinds of funds are also sometimes referred to as “sinking funds.”

They are used in many nearby districts. Niles, Buchanan, Cassopolis, Berrien Springs, and Dowagiac all have these funds and use them to keep facilities upgraded.

In fact, the law clearly states that you can only use these funds for facilities. We cannot be pay for buses, textbooks, salaries and technology with these approved funds.

A good example of one important way Brandywine would use the funds, if approved, is our roofs. In order to keep the warranties on our roofs and save money for costly replacements later on, we need to upgrade our roofs by 2018.

With the funds this millage could generate, we could budget for the roof expenses and other needed projects (parking lots, repairs to buildings, and heating systems are some examples).

This winter, we were able to refund some long-term bonds by selling them on the financial markets.

Because of our outstanding job of budgeting, our fairly stable enrollment, our negotiated labor contracts, and low employee turnover, we got an A-One rating from Moody’s Investor Services.

That rating enabled us to sell the bonds at a good rate and save our taxpayers $150,000 a year.

Let’s look at a property example.

If a home is worth $100,000, it is taxed on half that value, or $50,000. The tax on a $100,000 home for the building and site fund would be $50 a year. With the bond resale, there is a savings on that same home of approximately $20.50 a year. So, the final extra cost for this proposal would be around $29.50 a year, or about eight cents a day.

If you’d like to learn more about the May 3 Brandywine vote, we have two open public forums this month.

The first is at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at Brandywine Middle/Senior High School library.

The second is at 2 p.m. Friday, April 22 at Brandywine Elementary School’s library.

We will be able to talk more about the vote and answer any questions you might have.

 

John Jarpe is the superintendent at Brandywine Community Schools. He can be reached by phone at (269) 684-7150.

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