School district committee talks about what’s needed for the future

Student achievement is much higher if the affects of poverty are factored in, says the folks at The Center of Michigan, a non-partisan think tank.

Voters will be asked on May 6 to approve a millage that will fund needed repairs to school buildings.


Hamtramck Public Schools District is asking voters to approve a special millage on May 6 that will be used to improve school buildings, most of which have gone decades without needed repairs.
We’re talking some pretty basic fixes.
To inform the public of the proposal, a special committee has been formed to get the word out.
Here, in the committee’s words, is what they have to say:

The Hamtramck Public School District is proud of its new technology; new iPads, tablets, classroom projectors, document cameras and smart boards that are providing our students with a path to the future.

Recent energy upgrades have positioned the district to save long-term operational dollars.
The District’s missing piece is capital improvement funding, to maintain, proactively preserve and upgrade the conditions of our buildings as well as to create invigorating learning environments for the students.

The answer could be in the proposed “Capital Improvement Sinking Fund Millage” which will allow the community to rally together and take the first step towards improving their schools. By voting on May 6, residents can be the voice of the children and fill that missing piece, ensuring success for Hamtramck Schools.

Sinking funds need to be approved by a public vote and are a dedicated source of funds set aside for the sole use of school facility repairs and improvements. The funds are generated by taxes paid by property owners at a specific millage or percentage rate of individual property values. This proposed sinking fund is 4 mills or $4 per $1,000 dollars of a property’s taxable value.

For an average home with a taxable value of $18,000 the tax increase would be about $72 or lower per year. The funds cannot be used for staff salaries, wages or benefits, general operating expenses, classroom supplies or books.

Although Hamtramck Schools has a strong focus on the future, the buildings are rich with history and a legacy of the past that desperately need a little TLC.

Holbrook Elementary dates back to 1896 and is possibly the oldest functioning elementary school building in Michigan. The High School dates to 1935.

All buildings in the district have suffered from the recent recession and declining revenues; they are now the immediate priority. The Sinking Fund Millage is an avenue to improvements such as: secure and accessible entry improvements, roofing repairs and replacements, paving and walkway restoration, fire and life safety upgrades, energy-saving window replacements, adjustments for student and staff comfort, masonry and structural repairs and classroom environment improvements.

The overall goal is to preserve district assets in the most economical approach possible.
Hamtramck is strong, diverse and welcoming, coining the phrase “You Fit in Here” for potential new students. Their annual cultural dances and alternative proms show that Hamtramck Public Schools and the community celebrate ethnicity and promote the individual. Last year students earned a collective $2.3 million in scholarships, shining a light of success on Hamtramck students and the community.

How can you do your part to continue these achievements?

On May 6 the Hamtramck community will be asked to vote on a proposal for a 4 mill Sinking Fund in order to generate funds for facility improvements over the next 10 years.

Currently only 8% of the city’s taxes go to the Hamtramck School District. School building and infrastructure improvements could help raise property values, increase future revenues, decrease tax burdens and most importantly improve environments for student learning and safety.

More information can be obtained at an upcoming District public forum. Please visit the District website for dates and times. Thomas Niczay, Superintendent, can also be contacted for additional information at (313) 892-2011.

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