LANSING — State Representative Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) voiced his support for the passage of House Bill 4388, a bill that expands the potential usage of school sinking fund dollars to include security improvements and technological upgrades. The legislation passed the House on Wednesday afternoon, and closely mirrors a bill Rep. Zemke introduced his first term in office.

“Our goal as legislators is always to provide our students with a quality education, but in the discussion of how best to do that, important factors can often be overlooked,” said Rep. Zemke. “As a member of both the Education and Appropriations committees, I have been deeply committed to seeing funding allocated to our schools that allow them to provide a safe, welcoming environment to our students in and out of the classroom.”

Schools have traditionally had two means by which to raise capital for projects within the school: unlimited tax general obligation bonds, or the sinking fund. Both had clearly designated uses; however, the sinking fund parameters were more rigid, and were previously limited to real estate purchases or the construction or repair of school buildings. This expansion will allow schools to leverage sinking fund dollars for other needed, less obvious repairs, including improving school security. Proposed changes include the development of a mobile telephone application that provides the ability to communicate with personnel on site while also connecting an emergency telephone call to a 911 center.

“In the rapidly shifting technological environment of the 21st century, it is important we equip schools with every tool possible to improve the lives of their students,” said Rep. Zemke. “I saw that need when I first worked on this legislation in 2013, and I am pleased it is finally receiving the recognition and funding it deserves. Once this bill passes the Senate and is signed by the governor, I look forward to seeing how school districts across the state will put this funding to use.”