Superintendent responds to resident’s concerns

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to the concern expressed by Mary McMaster in last week’s Lake Orion Review regarding the school district’s building and site sinking fund and clarify any misunderstandings about how the funds generated are used.
She specifically referred to information on the sinking fund in a previous story in which I was interviewed for comment. Mary referred to one statement that was made: “that the building and site sinking fund would also allow the district to build up its fund balance.” This statement led her to believe that the district would be “syphoning off” dollars from this fund and diverting it to the annual operating budget. She further expressed concern that we might also use the fund for salaries and other unintended purposes.
First, I recognize how that statement out of context might lead you to make this assumption. However, as I have indicated to Mary and others, and as was publicized throughout our campaign, a sinking fund cannot be used for purposes other than for major facility repair and replacement. It cannot be used for general fund operations and certainly not for salaries. We are carefully audited by the Department of Treasury and the State Department of Education as to how the funds are expensed.
A sinking fund allows us to make much needed building and site repairs and replacements with moniesfrom this fund as opposed to from our general operating budget, which we have had to do in the past.
This has significantly reduced the general operating budget that should be spent for its intended purpose, which is the instruction of our students and not for building and site issues. Regretfully, Mary took out of context that one statement to make her assumptions. My full interview explained how any surplus in our operating budget can then be used, over time, to replenish our fund balance.
I hope this clarifies any confusion people may have. I invite anyone with additional concerns or questions to contact me directly at the District’s administrative office (248-693-5400).
Marion Ginopolis, Superintendent
Lake Orion Community Schools