Baraga passed sinking fund for schools Tuesday

Both school funding proposals in Baraga County were approved by voters in Tuesday’s election.

Baraga Area Schools’ (BAS) sinking fund passed by a narrow margin, 612 to 574. It won only 51.5 percent of the total vote.

“I think it’s going to be a big boost,” BAS superintendent Richard Sarau said.

The fund is intended primarily for repairs and upkeep to the 30-year-old main building, but can also be used for new construction, security upgrades or technology acquisition. By law it cannot be used for anything else, and the district would have to repay the money to the sinking fund if it was found they misused it.

The L’Anse Area Schools’ (LAS) millage proposal passed by a wider margin, 1,125 to 773, that is 59.3 percent in favor.

While the wording was complicated, LAS superintendent Susan Tollefson said the proposal was essentially a renewal of the 18 mils allowed by the state after a Headlee Rollback pushed the millage rate down. A Headlee Rollback is a decrease in the millage rate when property value growth outpaces inflation.

The wording of the proposal will allow the district to increase an optional portion of the millage to maintain the 18-mil level for several years without having to get a ballot measure passed.