Ann Arbor Public Schools "Sinking Fund" Tax

UPDATE: In Ann Arbor, the only item on the ballot for the May 2, 2017 election was a tax for the Ann Arbor Public Schools. It was approved by 70.47% of voters in the AAPS district. Turnout was 10.14%. Click here for detailed election results from the Washtenaw County elections division.


"Sinking Fund" Millage for Schools

On Tuesday, May 2, residents in the Ann Arbor Public Schools district will vote on a tax proposal to fund building repairs and other infrastructure projects. It's called a sinking fund millage.

The term "sinking fund" refers to the type of account into which tax proceeds are deposited. It's sometimes known as a pay-as-you-go approach to funding building renovations and additions, playground equipment, security improvements and other school infrastructure. The money can't be used for salaries or other administrative costs.

Currently, AAPS levies a 1-mill sinking fund tax that expires in 2019. The district is proposing to replace that with a 10-year, 2.5-mill annual tax. If approved, the tax would raise about $20 million in its first year, and roughly $200 million over the next decade.

Someone who owns property with a taxable value of $100,000 would pay $250 each year for this tax, compared to $100 for the current sinking fund millage.

More information about how the millage will be used is on the AAPS website.

The Ann Arbor Citizens Millage Committee has been formed to support the tax proposal. Click here to get campaign finance information about this group. No committee opposing the millage has officially formed, based on county campaign finance filings.

Here's exactly what you'll see on the ballot:


This proposal would replace and extend the authority last approved by voters in 2013 and which expires with the 2019 levy for the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor to levy a sinking fund millage.  This proposal would allow the use of proceeds of the millage for all purposes previously permitted by law as well as newly authorized security improvements.

As a replacement of existing authority, shall the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor, County of Washtenaw, Michigan, be authorized to levy 2.50 mills ($2.50 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) to create a sinking fund for the purpose of the construction or repair of school buildings, including school security improvements, and the improvement and development of sites and, to the extent permitted by law, for other purposes, including, but not limited to, the acquisition and installation of furnishings and equipment, by increasing the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in the School District for a period of ten (10) years, being the years 2017 to 2026, inclusive?  It is estimated that 2.50 mills ($2.50 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) would raise approximately $20,193,874 in the first year that it is levied.

(Under state law, sinking fund proceeds may not be used to pay teacher or administrator salaries.)


In the News: Ann Arbor Public Schools Sinking Fund Millage

Your questions answered about Washtenaw County's May 2 electionMLive, May 1, 2017

Op-Ed: The Sinking Fund Millage – A Foundation for the FutureThe Ann, May 1, 2017

Aging Ann Arbor schools in need of costly repair as tax vote nearsMLive, April 25, 2017

See how much Washtenaw County taxpayers pay for their public schoolsMLive, April 7, 2017

New Ann Arbor school board member talks about his plans and perspective of the school district  – WEMU, Feb. 6, 2017

Ann Arbor Schools' new sinking fund would raise $200M over 10 yearsMLive, Jan. 26, 2017

Coverage of the AAPS board meeting deliberations on putting the millage on the May 2, Jan. 25, 2017

More Background

The Ann Arbor Public Schools district serves the city of Ann Arbor and parts of eight surrounding townships – Ann Arbor, Pittsfield, Lodi, Northfield, Salem, Scio, Superior and Webster. The district enrolls about 17,000 students, operates 19 elementary schools, 2 K-8 schools, 5 middle schools, 5 high schools, 1 standalone preschool, 1 virtual school and 1 adult education program. It is the 5th largest school district in Michigan with an annual budget of about $215 million and a staff of about 1,500 full-time employees, including about 1,100 teachers. 

The 7-member AAPS Board of Education is responsible for approving the budget, setting policy, and hiring/overseeing the district’s superintendent. The current superintendent is Jeanice Swift. The board voted to put the sinking fund millage on the ballot at their Jan. 25, 2017 meeting.

AAPS Trustees are (click here for contact info):

Christine Stead, president
Susan Baskett, vice president
Jeff Gaynor, secretary
Harmony Mitchell, treasurer: 
Simone Lightfoot, parliamentarian
Jessica Kelly
Patricia Manley

IMPORTANT NOTE: To vote on May 2, you must have been registered by Monday, April 3. Click here to check your registration status.