Brighton School Board Considers Bond, Sinking Fund
A bond would help the district pay for building repair, maintenance, additions and technology upgrades.
During its Monday night meeting, board members, along with the public, heard the first lengthly presentation of the bond and sinking fund proposal from architects, construction and financial managers as the board considers.
The Brighton Board of Education is considering asking voters next year to approve a bond and a sinking fund millage to help pay for building repairs and maintenance in light of an $8 million budget deficit.
Some of the needed improvements would include new parking lots and new roofing. Officials said the high school is also in need of a new swimming pool and Hawkins Elementary needs a new gym because its current gym is small and doubles as the school gym and cafeteria.
The board has not decided on a bond amount yet, but it could be anywhere from $58 to $92 million, according to a financial analysis - part of the bond proposal that the board heard Monday night.
The bond proposal also suggests $15.3 million for new technology. Brighton Area Schools Director of Technology Elson Liu discussed his budget with the board members during the proposal which will include adding a district wireless network.
"I'm not budgeting for smart boards in classrooms because the technology has changed in the last three years," Liu said. "You can do a lot of the same things just with special projectors. A specialized projector will run you anywhere around $1,500 to $2,000, depending on specifications. A smart board would run you closer to $5,000. So they're less money, but thanks to the changes in technology, they have a lot of the same functionality."
Brighton Area Schools Superintendent Greg Gray held bus tours last month of different district facilities that showed some of the much needed improvements the distrcit needs. The tours were designed to gauge whether voters would support a bond issue or sinking fund, which officials believe the district needs to bring it back up to the standards of other Livingston County schools. Gray said the tours were well attended.
The bond proposal presented three election scenarios: May, August and November 2012. The bond would mean an increase of 3 mils in property taxes in the near future, but 7 mils could be added long-term. Average homeowners currently pay 6 mils.
School Board member Bill Anderson said he wouldn't support a May 2012 vote because the board would have to approve the proposal by Jan. 9 and that there was not enough time to do so.
School Board members will hold a special study session to discuss the bond issue and sinking fund on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.