Wyoming’s New ‘Sinking Fund’ Will Keep School Infrastructure Afloat

Wyoming Public SchoolsOn election day, the Wyoming Public School District was hopeful the citizens of Wyoming would vote to pass the funding request. The request was for a sinking fund, a shorter, smaller stream of money that acts differently from a bond issue.

“It was very hard to get a read on the way the public felt. It was very quiet,” explained Superintendent Tom Reeder. “We tried to be as informative as possible over social media and school news letters.”

The sinking fund request was passed by a vote of 1,445 to 978 and won every precinct.

The new funding will raise over $400,000 per year with little, if any, increase to the Wyoming tax payers. The sinking fund will help pay for infrastructure updates until the next bond proposal between the 2021/22 and 2022/23 school year. By that time, the District’s millages will be down to zero. Much like paying off a house mortgage.

How is a sinking fund different from a bond issue? Well, for starters, a sinking fund is for a much shorter period of time. On top of the duration, a sinking fund provides a little bit of money at a time instead of it all upfront. With a sinking fund, no debt needs to be repaid because a smaller amount of money is being brought in to pay for numerous projects. With a bond issue, the millages passed off to the taxpayer pay off the debt for the large lump sum taken upfront.

Wyoming Junior HighOn the whole, sinking funds are more economical for smaller projects because there is no interest paid on the projects; you pay as you go.

Now that we’ve covered the jargon on the difference between a sinking fund and a bond, it’s time to talk about the real meat of what was voted on – where is the money going?

Quick answer, it’s going towards small projects that need repair on a schedule. Things like roofs, parking lots, and mechanical equipment.

Longer – more detailed – answer, it’s going towards safety and security, efficiency, and infrastructure tune-ups district wide. The breakdown is below.

Replace and Re-key Doors: Doors are rusted and multiple keys are needed in one building. Re-keying allows for a master-key allowing access to multiple school buildings.

Emergency Lighting: Emergency lighting systems are outdated and need to be upgraded for increased safety in the event of an emergency or loss of power.

Upgrade heating and cooling units: Current system runs at high output all the time.

Install High Efficiency Heating System: New web-based control unit updated system will help with energy savings by allowing the heating system to run at lower output during mild weather.

WyomingExterior Lights: Provide better nighttime lighting for after school events.

Remodel Student bathrooms: Replace bathroom fixtures with energy-efficient fixtures and use low maintenance materials to reduce cleaning times and extend useful life.

Replace or Repair Roofs: Building roofs are past their 20-year useful lives. Recent inspections indicate that future leaks are only a matter of time.

Parking Lots: Lots are in need of resurfacing. Parking lot capacity would be increased to ease congestion of drop-off and pick-up areas.

Superintendent Reeder was very thankful to the public and adamant that the funds were needed, “We are very thankful to the public and we will stay transparent with where the money is going. Our buildings are 50 years old. They may look nice on the outside, but issues are starting to present themselves and they need to be fixed.”