ROGERS CITY - Voters in the Rogers City Area School district will be asked on Nov. 6 to renew an eight-year millage used to maintain and potentially expand school buildings.
The building and site sinking funds millage will levy up to 1.1519 mills, or about $57.60 for a house with a taxable valuation of $50,000, according to ballot language. In its first year, it should raise an estimated $228,121.
These funds are restricted, and can be used on building projects, Superintendent Katy Makowski said. Transferring it for any other use, such as paying for staff salaries and benefits, or technology purchases, is illegal.
"This millage will allow us to keep up our buildings without taking away from learning ... money that is raised will only be used to maintain our facilities for the benefit of our students," she said.
While ballot language describes the renewal as an increase, the district will levy a lower rate to avoid adding to district taxpayers' financial burden, Makowski said.
Recently, the district has spent these funds on moving the central office from the former high school - the Grambau Education Center - into unused classroom space in the current high school, Principal Dave O'Bryant said. It's also funded insulating the high school eaves, building a concessions stand at Gilpin Field and replacing windows in the elementary school.
Another possibility could include building an auxiliary gymnasium, and the district is considering other expansion projects as well, O'Bryant said.
During a special meeting Monday, Makowski, O'Bryant and other school board members discussed the district's long-term goals, including replacing the high school's single-pane windows and walls. The windows aren't energy-efficient, and the lack of insulation makes for uncomfortable classrooms.
"Right now there are temperature extremes in the classrooms," O'Bryant said. "It's either extremely cold or extremely warm."
By replacing these panels with the materials used on the outside of the new central office, the district should save money on heating and cooling, O'Bryant said.
O'Bryant said he agrees with Makowski's assessment of the millage's necessity, given the district's tight budgets.
"If we lose a boiler, we have to replace it, either out of the building fund or general education money," he said.
Jordan Travis can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5688.