A building and site sinking fund proposed for Rochester Community Schools was approved by voters during the November 5 midterm election: Approximately 11,677 residents voted “yes” on the proposal while 5,321 voted “no.”
The fund will generate $7.8 million over 10 years for maintaining the current condition of the schools and for future unexpected repairs, such as broken generators. It will cause no tax increases for Rochester residents.
Eliminating the need to borrow money from the government, the fund allows the school district to pay for repairs and improvements as it needs them without any interest. Previously, the school district had to rely on bonds, which often came unexpectedly, for maintenance money.
“A sinking fund is an opportunity to protect that investment [the previous bonds] by offering a sustainable mechanism to support current and future needs,” Superintendent Dr. Shaner said in a promotional video. He, along with Cindy Linder, the Director of Technology and Strategic Initiatives for the district, spearheaded the push for the sinking fund. With their support, members of the Advanced Planning Committee proposed the plan to the Board of Education, which approved the proposal to be put on the ballot.
Mr. DeLuca sees the sinking fund as an exciting opportunity for students.
“Common maintenance items like windows, doors, heating and cooling—those will be set for the next ten years, instead of waiting for the next bond to come through twenty years from now. We’ll be able to address issues as they come up, not just waiting, putting band-aids on stuff,” Mr. DeLuca said.
When asked what improvements he looked forward to making the most, Mr. DeLuca responded quickly:”Being able to balance heating and cooling. You know, from students [you hear that] we have shifts from really hot to really cold. And maybe lights in the pool,” he said.