By Megan Kelley
In August 2016 Lake Orion Community Schools passed a sinking fund to help with repairs that were needed throughout the district.
This sinking fund generates approximately $3.5 million annually for the 10 years following its passage to assist in the “more than $40 million in facility projects proposed for Lake Orion schools,” according to the district’s website.
Now, district officials are asking residents to vote Nov. 6 on a $160 million bond to address “critical needs” in facility, safety and technology improvements throughout the district.
Residents are also being told the district’s critical needs actually were around $300 million, but that the district is asking for $160 million in order to keep the current millage rate at 7.49 mills, school board members have said repeatedly during board meetings.
Lake Orion passed the sinking fund stating that the money would be used for building improvements. The district’s website lists these improvements:
“The types of major facility renovation and repair projects include boiler and chiller replacement, roof repairs, restroom upgrades, parking lot and sidewalk repairs, carpeting and floor tile replacement, lighting system upgrades, energy management system updates, network infrastructure improvements, eligible security system upgrades, window and door replacement and more.”
In the two years since the sinking fund passed, LOCS has made a number of repairs to district facilities, the most recent being the high school stadium which received several upgrades including two new ticket booths and concrete benches along the outside of the stadium, and the track and Astroturf field were replaced.
These stadium renovations were a part of a bid pack that was purchased by the board for $1,858,596; a little more than half of the annual revenue from the sinking fund.
Also, the sinking fund financed the installation of the 67 water bottle filling stations purchased by Oakland County.
Several schools received boiler and chiller replacements, concrete and paving work, roof work and gym floor renovations.
Future projects for 2019 include replacing and retrofitting lighting fixtures with LED lighting, chiller and boiler replacement, parking lot and sidewalk improvements, carpet replacements and restroom renovations.
The district sinking fund budget is as follows:
Total district budget amount: $35,282,659
Total district budget committed: $8,635,267
Total district budget remaining: $26,647,392.
The district does release periodic sinking fund updates on the district website at lakeorionschools.org/district/sinking-fund-2017.