Britton Deerfield Schools seek one mill for building repairs, maintenance

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Voters in the Britton Deerfield School District will be asked to approve a 1-mill sinking fund on the ballot in May. Britton Deerfield Superintendent Charles Pelham and the Britton Deerfield School Board believe creating a sinking fund will allow more flexibility for repairs and regular maintenance of the buildings.

Keeping two buildings in the district functioning can be an expensive job for Pelham. Every time a repair is needed, like the recent replacement of an emergency valve on a boiler, the money has to come out of the general fund.

“The sinking fund would provide money we can use to repair and maintain facilities without taking away from instruction and students,” Pelham said.

Specific projects planned for sinking fund money include repaving the parking lots at both buildings, complying with Americans With Disabilities Act standards, and upgrading the remainder of outdated lighting. Deerfield Schools had a sinking fund, but when the district closed the money was no longer available to the new Britton Deerfield School District.

Many of the projects Pelham has wanted to complete, have been ignored, because it would mean loss of money for the students. Upgrading electrical wiring in the district is vital with mandatory MEAP testing on computer only in 2015.

It’s a project that’s been on hold because other issues have taken priority. A sinking fund would allow improvements to technology infrastructure without taking away money from the students.

“I’m not going to do anything if it takes away from instruction,” Pelham said. “Students are number one at Britton Deerfield.”

Pelham has had discussion with different groups about the millage, and has received support to put the measure on the ballot. Residents with a home valued at $100,000 would pay approximately $10 per year for the millage.

Pelham expects a sinking fund millage would provide approximately $150,000 a year for the district. The goal would be to use only a portion of the money each year, keeping some funds set aside for emergency repairs and maintenance.

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