The upcoming election marks an important one for Leland Public School.
Last year, voters in Leelanau County voted to renew the school’s operating millage, but voted against it’s sinking fund millage.
“Schools need an operational millage so that they can get their funding, either from their local tax base or from Lansing and then they need these additional sources of funding to do everything that isn’t paid for by operational funds,” said Leland Public School Superintendent Stephanie Long.
Long believes voters last year were confused by the difference between the sinking fund and the projects already being funded by a construction bond. In the past, the school had a sinking fund on the ballot every year up until 2018, when they requested a construction bond instead. This allowed for the construction of several projects including a new gym and elementary school.
“We’re asking for the sinking fund to take care of the portions of the building that were not renovated with the construction bond,” said Long.
The sinking fund alone, would focus on much-needed upgrades, repairs and improvements to different parts of the school.
“The unfortunate thing about about that set of circumstances though, is that we still have an existing building that needs some work—we have some science classrooms that were built in the 1950s,” said Long. “They’re just not up to date with the needs of a modern education.”
Some voters say they were surprised by the opposition to the sinking fund.
“This is really not looking for extras, this is something that’s about ensuring our kids have safe spaces to learn, that our teachers are equipped with the right environments in with which to teach,” said Leland Resident Sarah Mills. “I supported the millage before I had children in the school, I will support school improvements, funding, sinking funds, after I have children who are in the school.”
But some still have questions.
“I know millages are really important, I don’t know if it helps, just to keep doing this, it seems like the community is undecided,” said Leland Resident Elaine Flezanis. “I can see both sides, I can see that the economy is different now, I can see how, as a former teacher, I know how important it is that we do pass their millages.”
You can read more about the sinking fund proposal .
Voters can cast their ballots on May 3.