Ann Arbor Public Schools

For Kids' Sake:

May 6,
Operating and Sinking Fund Millage Restorations

Ann Arbor Public Schools – May 6, 2008
Facts About the Restoration of the Sinking Fund Millage

1.  Q:  What is the difference between a bond issue and a sinking fund millage?
A:  A bond issue is a lump-sum dollar amount that the district borrows, through the sale of  bonds, in order to fund capital projects (such as building construction, district-wide technology implementation, etc.). Taxpayers pay the money back over a period of years, with interest; similar to a home mortgage.
A sinking fund millage is a limited property tax, considered a pay-as-you-go method, for addressing building remodeling projects. State law allows a district to levy up to five mills, for no longer than 20 years. It is more like a bank account where you can access the money on-hand to pay for projects as they are completed. The district will not be paying interest for the money used.  The State of Michigan has legal requirements, restrictions and guidelines for public school districts that plan to fund capital enhancements or facility repairs through sinking fund millage levies. The law is very specific about what is considered an allowable use and what reporting and audit requirements are expected.

2.  Q:  Will my taxes increase if the sinking fund millage is renewed?
A:  In 2004 the community supported a Sinking Fund of 1 mill; that authority has been rolled back slightly to .9861 mills due to the headlee rollback. We are asking to restore the authority back to 1 mill for the Sinking Fund.

3.  Q:  Will money from the bond proposal or the sinking fund be used to pay teacher salaries and benefits?
A: No. School districts are not allowed to use funds from a sinking fund for operating expenses such as teacher, administrator or employee salaries. Bond funds and sinking funds must be kept separate from operating funds.

4. Q:  Explain what the sinking fund can and cannot cover?
A:  Sinking funds may be used for purchasing, completing, remodeling or repairing facilities, or parts of or additions to those facilities; acquiring and  improving sites, for school buildings, structures, athletic facilities, playgrounds, or other facilities; and technology infrastructure. Technology in this case refers to wiring or materials used for installing technology. It does not include the equipment or software. This fund may be used for repair, but not for maintenance.
The proposal would allow the district to spend sinking fund dollars on technology equipment, software, school buses, and other equipment if the law is amended to allow that use.

5.  Q:  What specific projects has the 2004 sinking fund been used for?
A:  The 2004 sinking fund has been used for the following:
  • Mechanical and electrical upgrades for Ann Arbor’s 21 elementary schools, 5 middle schools and 5 high schools.
  • New boilers
  • New classroom ventilators
  • Replacing rooftop air handling units
  • Replacing plumbing fixtures
  • Air conditioning elementary school media centers and computer labs

6.  Q:  For which specific projects will the proposed sinking fund be used? 
A:  The proposed sinking fund will be used for:
  • Roof replacement
  • Replacement of parking lots
  • Replacing ceilings and lighting
  • Replacing flooring
  • Upgrading electrical systems
  • Replace the current steam & roof top heating systems
  • Building security/access
  • Technology (if permissible by law)

7.  Q:  What are the key dates leading up to the May vote?
Final Day to Register to Vote
 Monday, April 7, 2008    5 p.m.
Absentee Ballot Apps. Available
 Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Absentee Ballots Must Be Obtained
 Saturday, May 3, 2008    2 p.m.
Absentee Ballots Must be Returned To the Clerk’s Office   Tuesday, May 6, 2008   8 p.m.
Election Day
 Tuesday, May 6, 2008   7 a.m.-8 p.m.
8.  Q:  Where and when do I register to vote?
A:  To vote in the May 6, 2008 Regular School Election, a person must be:
  • a resident of the Ann Arbor Public School District
  • registered to vote by the voter registration deadline of Monday, April 7, 2008, 5:00 PM.
To register to vote, a person must be:
  • a U.S. citizen
  • at least 18 years of age by election day
  • a resident of Michigan and the city or township where you are applying to vote
Printable voter registration forms are available on the Secretary of State web site or you may register in person with your city, township, or county clerk or at any Secretary of State office.
NOTE: anyone using "mail-in" voter registration process MUST vote in person the FIRST time they vote (no absentee voting allowed at the first election).
Local clerk phone numbers and addresses:
  • Washtenaw County Clerk: 222-6730, 200 North Main Street, Ann Arbor
  • Ann Arbor City Clerk: 994-2725, 100 North Fifth Avenue, Ann Arbor
  • Ann Arbor Township Clerk: 663-3418,3792 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor
  • Lodi Township Clerk: 665-7583, 3755 Pleasant Lake Road, Ann Arbor
  • Northfield Township Clerk: 449-2880, 75 Barker Road, Whitmore Lake
  • Pittsfield Township Clerk: 822-3120, 6201 West Michigan Ave., Ann Arbor
  • Salem Township Clerk: 1 248 349-1690, 9600 Six Mile Road, Salem
  • Scio Township Clerk: 665-2123, 827 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor
  • Superior Township Clerk: 482-6099, 3040 North Prospect Road, Ypsilanti
  • Webster Township Clerk: 426-5103, 5655 Webster Church Road, Dexter

9. Q: What is the procedure for absentee voting?
A:  Absentee Ballot Applications will be available at all Ann Arbor Public School buildings, district libraries, and city and township clerk offices beginning on Wednesday, April 16, 2008.  Complete the application and return it to the address shown at the top of the application. An Absentee Ballot will be then mailed to you. If you return the application in person to the school election office no later than 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, 2008, you will receive a ballot and be allowed to vote at that time.

10.  Q:  If I have questions not covered in this website, where can I get additional information?
A:  Contact the District’s Communication Department Director, Liz Margolis at (734) 994-2236 or email at

Ann Arbor Public Schools   Ann Arbor Public Schools 734.994.2200