Rochester Community Schools Plans Sinking Fund Proposal for November Election

The Board of Education of the Rochester Community School  (RCS) District authorized the preparation of a zero-tax increase building and site sinking fund proposal not to exceed 1.5000 mills for a period of 10 years, from 2020-2029.

If approved by voters and levied in 2020, it is estimated that the revenue the district will collect will be approximately $7,881,817. The funds will be used for the construction or repair of school buildings, the improvement and development of sites, security improvements, acquiring or upgrading technology, and for any other purpose which may be authorized by law.

The district’s Advanced Planning Committee comprised of local business leaders, government and community stakeholders, parents, and school representatives, met in the spring to learn about district funding mechanisms for capital outlay and other projects. The committee determined that although Rochester Community Schools maintains a balanced budget that promotes growth and supports high-quality student programs, there is currently no sustainable mechanism to repair, replace or buy new items that support critical facility and infrastructure needs.

The committee learned that a sinking fund is a way for the greater Rochester community to protect its investment in the school facilities and keep tax dollars local. This pay-as-you-go mechanism does not require the school district to borrow money or pay interest, and provides an opportunity to generate funds beyond what is allocated by state and federal sources.

After a thorough review of all available funding mechanisms and RCS budget assessments, the Advanced Planning Committee recommended at the June 10 Board meeting that the Board of Education pursue a sinking fund proposal on the November 5 ballot.

“Since the 2016 district needs assessment for the bond efforts, items once identified as deferred needs are now critical needs,” said Superintendent Robert Shaner, Ph.D. “A sinking fund is a sustainable mechanism to ensure the district has the means to repair, replace, or buy new facility and infrastructure items, enhance security, and upgrade technology. Residents can invest directly in their school system by keeping their tax dollars local.”

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