2018 Sinking Fund Ballot Information

This section of the website contains details about the Sinking Fund Ballot Proposal, cost, ballot language, and frequently asked questions.

Thank You, Voters

Berkley Schools Sinking Fund Passes!

The unofficial Sinking Fund election results have been posted by Oakland County.
73.83% voting in favor of the proposal, 26.17% voting against the proposal 

See the sinking fund voting results

We are deeply gratified to have received the support of the community for the Sinking Fund. We are also very grateful that this vote demonstrates the community's ongoing support for the direction of the Berkley School District. We are very fortunate to be in a community that believes in and supports great public schools. We'll continue to work hard every day to support and challenge our students and provide them with great learning experiences.

The passage of this Sinking Fund will allow us to continue to invest in our buildings, safety and technology. We look forward to using our needs assessment document to plan the first projects once this Sinking Fund goes into effect next summer.

Thank you to the community for your continued support.

With deep gratitude,

Dennis McDavid
Berkley School District

Sinking Fund Ballot Proposal Details

Sinking Funds allow for continued investment in our school buildings, safety, and technology. These funds guarantee dollars for facility improvements, protecting the investment the community has made in the Berkley School District.

2018 Sinking Fund Proposal Important Facts

  • Election Date: August 7, 2018
  • 3.0 mills to levy on all properties in the Berkley School District for 10 years
  • Equates to an approximate 1.0 mill reduction in levies on all properties
  • The Sinking Fund will generate approximately $3,000,000 in 2019-2020 school year
  • Sinking Fund dollars support community investments: Roofing/concrete replacement projects, technology infrastructure improvements, energy and security improvements, additions, etc.

Voters approved a Sinking Fund renewal in 2013 for 10 years

  • Berkley School District is currently levying .6994 mills on all properties in the District. This equates to approximately $700,000 annually.
  • The Board of Education passed a resolution to forgo levying this millage in 2019-2020, if 2018 Sinking Fund proposal passes (effective 2019-2020)

Tax Payer Savings

  • In 2019, the 2009 and 2015 Bond Refunder payments will be complete, alleviating approximately 3.0 mills from the District’s tax levy
  • If the 2018 Sinking Fund Ballot Proposal passes, 3.0 mills will be a new levy to all tax payers in 2019
  • If the 2018 Sinking Fund Ballot Proposal passes, the Board of Education will not levy the current Sinking Fund in 2019-2020 (.6994 mills), generating a savings to all (-.6994 mills)

Sinking Fund Ballot Language

Approved by the Board of Education in November 2017

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Berkley School District, Oakland County, Michigan, be increased by and the board of education be authorized to levy not to exceed 3 mills ($3.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 10 years, 2019-2028, inclusive, to create a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings, for school security improvements, for the acquisition or upgrading of technology, for the purchase of real estate for sites for school buildings and all other purposes authorized by the law; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2019 is approximately $3,000,000?

Math Formula to Understand the Sinking Fund

The chart below details the current state of the District's tax levy and two outcomes possible: if the Sinking Fund proposal does not pass and if it does. The areas with red lines in them illustrate that Mill amount dropping out of the equation.

SF = Sinking Fund

  • The current District levy includes the 2009 & 2015 Refunder Bonds, the 2015 Bond, and the 2013 Sinking Fund. This total levy is 7.7394 Mills.
  • If the 2018 Sinking Fund does not pass:
    In 2019, the District will levy the 2015 Bond and the 2013 Sinking Fund. This total levy is 4.3994 Mills, a reduction in taxes, but leaves the District with the 2013 Sinking Fund rate.
  • If the 2018 Sinking Fund passes:
    In 2019, the District will levy the 2015 Bond and the 2018 Sinking Fund. This results in a near 1.0 Mill reduction from the current District levy, saving dollars for tax payers. It also increases the District’s Sinking Fund to protect and maintain the investments the community made with the 2015 Bond and add new scope of work each year.

Needs Assessment Review

Facilities Studies

  • 2014: Integrated Design Solutions (IDS) in Troy walked every square foot of the District and came up with $120 million in recommended upgrades
  • 2018: McCarthy & Smith (MS) compared IDS document with the 2015 Bond work that was completed to compile new recommendations. MS recommends $45 million in need, including $4,403,500 in technology.
  • The facilities study process included many of our staff members

Maintenance Spending Recommendation

  • Integrated Design Solutions also recommended that the District invest 3-5% of all building value annually to maintain buildings
  • Berkley Schools currently has $200 Million in building value (conservatively). 3% of $200 Million = $6 M/year that should be invested in building maintenance
  • The 2013 Sinking Fund averages $700,000 annually for annual maintenance. This is $5.3 Million short of the recommended amount needed.

Ongoing Building Needs

  • Restroom upgrades at BHS
  • Multi-purpose/cafeteria spaces at elementary schools and AMS
  • Roofing/paving/building exterior improvements
  • Media Center redesigns at all buildings (similar to BHS)
  • And, more

Ongoing Technology Needs

  • Increase devices in schools to create a device to student ratio of 1:2. Currently, the District is in a 1:4 device to student ratio.
  • Wi-Fi in common areas and hallways
  • Media Center upgrades to technology
  • Additional security cameras
  • Update classroom technology (5 year cycle)
  • Innovative tech budgets for each school annually to keep up with changing technology

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any additional questions? Email Jessica Stilger and they'll be added to this page.

Why an increased Sinking Fund and not a new Bond proposal?

A bond proposal is a loan and the District pays it back over a time period, usually 25 years, with interest and bond issuance costs. Sinking Fund dollars arrive each year the SF is levied by the Board. There is no loan, no interest and the District can save the dollars unspent at the end of each year to tackle larger projects if needed. It gives the District greater flexibility in spending and alleviates extra costs.

Will tax rates increase if these proposals are passed?

No. Net school taxes will go down in 2019 by approximately 1 mill.

Why is the Sinking Fund on the ballot now?

The 2009 and 2015 Bond Refunder payments are complete in 2018-19. Asking voters now allows for the District to future plan knowing the Sinking Fund dollars will be available.

Will my tax rates go down if Sinking Fund is defeated?

Yes, however, this means the District will be out a potential $3,000,000 annually to support the significant investment the community made in our schools by passing the 2015 Bond.

What happens if the proposal is voted down?

If the Sinking Fund Millage is defeated, dollars collected would remain at the 2013 Sinking Fund rates. This means our continued investment in our school buildings, safety, and technology will remain at very low levels.

What can Sinking Fund dollars be used for?

Under current law, Sinking Fund dollars may be used for the construction or repair of school buildings and facilities, acquiring or installing instructional technology and infrastructure (wiring or materials for installing), security equipment, and the purchase of real estate. Sinking Fund dollars cannot pay for salaries, benefits, or classroom supplies.

What differentiates classroom supplies (not allowed) from instructional technology (allowed) under Sinking Fund law?

Sinking Fund dollars cannot purchase traditional classroom supplies like books, pens, pencils, etc.

Instructional technology includes things like classroom computers, tablets, white boards, and Smart Projectors. Technology for non-instructional purposes (like office technology) is also not permissible.

Have budget proposals been developed to demonstrate what Sinking Fund money would specifically pay for? What projects will not be considered without the 2018 Sinking Fund initiative?

Yes. Each school compiled a Sinking Fund wish list, and McCarthy & Smith attached a budget to each item. We are finalizing a few numbers, and will post them on the Sinking Fund website very soon.

One project example that wouldn’t be considered is a multi-purpose/cafeteria space addition to many of our schools. This cost is just not feasible on the current $700,000 Sinking Fund budget.

What typical repairs would be included the annual 3-5% repair budget as recommended by IDS?

The 3-5% of building value included as a repair/facility upgrade budget is an industry guideline. Items that typically are included in this scope of work include roof and paving repair/improvements, building envelope (e.g. windows, doors) repair/replacements, HVAC repair/improvement/replacement, and lighting.

What is the last day to pick up an absentee ballot from my City Clerk’s Office?

The last day a ballot can be mailed or taken from the City Clerk’s Office is 2:00 pm on the Saturday before the election (August 4, 2018).

When is the City of Berkley going for their ballot initiatives?

The City of Berkley has initiatives on the November 2018 ballot.

You state $45 Million in need, but only $30 Million will be generated from the 2018 Sinking Fund. What happens to the $15 Million gap?

Berkley School District is known for stretching dollars and maximizing investments. The 2015 $58.9 Million Bond, for example, turned into approximately $75 Million in value. The dollars were stretched because of strategic planning and timing of bid postings which allowed the District to pull additional work into the scope, like air conditioning at all buildings. The 2018 Sinking Fund dollars would be used in the same manner, and the gap in need versus dollars allocated should shrink.

Is this a special election?

No. The August 7 election is the Michigan primary, and Berkley School District will be sharing the ballot.

Voters approved $58.9 Million Bond Proposal on May 5, 2015

Highlights of the Bond work completed are below. The 2018 Sinking Fund dollars would preserve and maintain these community investments and significant improvements to our schools. Thank you, voters!

Three Phases

  • Phase I: Angell, Pattengill, Norup, BHS
  • Phase II: Burton, Rogers, AMS, BHS
  • Phase III: Avery & Tyndall

Building Highlights

  • Avery: 2-room classroom addition, right-sizing classrooms for all child care ages
  • Angell: New art room addition, reconfigured entrance, support staff space
  • Burton: New office/entrance addition, reconfigured art and Kindergarten rooms
  • Pattengill: New office/entrance addition, reconfigured music and art spaces, maker-space room
  • Rogers: New art and music room addition, reconfigured entrance
  • Norup: Large multi-purpose/cafeteria/ kitchen/music room addition, reconfigured music and support staff rooms
  • AMS: Updated main entrance, new courtyard/secondary entrance, reconfigured music rooms
  • BHS: New office/entrance addition, updated media center and tech labs, reconfigured design center, natatorium upgrades, auditorium sound system upgrades
  • Tyndall: Complete renovation for admin staff, including new professional development spaces for all staff

Infrastructure Highlights

  • Energy Management System
  • Heating, ventilation, ductwork, controls and piping
  • Air conditioning at all buildings
  • Upgraded electrical systems
  • Replaced lighting to improve learning environments and energy efficiency
  • Remodeled select restrooms and replaced obsolete and worn plumbing fixtures and piping
  • Replaced select doors, windows, roofing, railings and exterior steps
  • Corrected site drainage where needed
  • Asbestos abatement in all buildings

Safety Upgrades

  • New secure entrances at BHS, AMS, Angell, Burton, Pattengill, Rogers
  • Security camera upgrades at every building
  • Camera access given to public safety (made possible by the upgrades)
  • Updated fire alarm system
  • Updated clock/messaging system

Technology Upgrades

  • Increased devices in all schools to a now have a 1:4 device to student ratio, from a 1:7 ratio
  • Interactive classroom projection system
  • Classroom sound amplification system
  • Digital clocks in all buildings with messaging systems
  • Building-wide secured Wi-Fi
  • District-wide data network and technology system upgrades
  • Phone system replacement

Classroom Upgrades

  • Updated educational furniture and equipment
  • Relocated/renovated select art, design and music spaces
  • Relocated/renovated select classrooms, resource rooms, learning specialists and therapists
  • Renovated select middle and high school computer labs and media center spaces to provide modern, flexible space for collaboration and exploration
  • New carpeting in many spaces

Phase III - Summer/Fall 2018

  • Update the Avery Center to house all child care programs, combining Avery and Tyndall, including a new addition for classrooms
  • Update the Tyndall Center to house the administrative offices and Board of Education, including new professional development spaces