253 USD to explore 2019 bond refinancing | Education


The $253 Emporia Public Schools Board of Education voted late Wednesday to explore options for refinancing its 2019 general obligation bonds, which could potentially save millions of dollars. dollars to the district.

Dustin Avey of investment bank Piper Sandler explained that unlike a mortgage, which is refinanced in its entirety, the district could choose certain maturities of its bonds to refinance at better interest rates.

“In this analysis, we only rollover certain bonds that produce savings for the school district or we do not rollover bonds that do not produce savings,” Avey said.

The bond refinancing process would involve soliciting proposals from various lending institutions and then advancing proposals that would benefit the district. While the district must issue taxable bonds – which tend to have a higher interest rate – Avey said there is an option to issue convertible bonds, which start out as taxable bonds but convert to bonds. tax-exempt once they become eligible, thereby reducing interest rates.

Based on last week’s interest rate trends, if the district were to go ahead with this process, it could save about $2.5 million.

Avey acknowledged that the market is currently very volatile, so there is no guarantee that last week’s trends will not change one way or the other.

“I can see something where it’s a wide range of savings,” he said. “It could be $1 million based on refinancing a smaller amount or it could be more based on refinancing a large amount. We just don’t know until we pick up those proposals.

Avey will be able to collect proposals from lenders but will not be able to lock anything in without the approval of the board of directors. School board members agreed that if the proposals came back well before their next meeting on April 13 and the potential savings were worth it, they could call a special meeting since market volatility would not necessarily guarantee that those same rates would be available at a later date. .

If the proposals don’t appear to offer enough savings, Avey said he may continue to monitor the situation until something better comes along.

The school board voted unanimously to allow Avey to solicit proposals just after voting to accept the guaranteed maximum price for McCownGordon’s construction work on Village Elementary, which was part of the 2019 bond issue.

The total project cost was $6,828,103, which was $203,047 over budget. McCownGordon project manager Eric Woltje said that given the rising cost of the construction work, the cost could have been higher.

“It’s over but it hasn’t increased that much, which is a really good sign,” he said.

The Village project will include a new multi-purpose hall, the addition of an administrative office and other redevelopment works. Woltje said the construction start date is July 2022 with a substantial completion date of September 2023.

In other matters, the school board has approved a reasoned bargaining team salary proposal for the 2021-22 school year.

The package includes horizontal and vertical moves for 2021-2022, a base salary increase of $500 on the certified salary scale, the maintenance of allowances for one year, recommendations to the supplemental scale, a $175 increase in the stipend, increases to longevity stipend and continued $15,000 scholarship pool to help staff qualify to teach dual credit courses and special education .

As a result of the approved proposal, salary costs have increased by 1.737% and will be paid retroactively to July 1, 2021.

  • Heard a presentation from the EHS Theater Department regarding Theater Month in our schools.
  • Renewal of annual contracts for administrative staff.
  • Approval of the district strategic plan after a second reading.
  • Approved minor changes to board policy as suggested by the Kansas Association of School Boards.

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