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District earns GFOA achievement honors

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LPR staff report

The Lockhart school district’s finance department was recognized at the Monday night trustee meeting for receiving the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (CAFR).
The award is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and reporting. It’s the 15th consecutive year the district has earned this award.
The CAFR is judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story.
This summer, the district’s business office scored a 100 percent on the Schools Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) Rating, earning a Superior rating for the 18th year in a row.
The legislature authorized the schools’ FIRST rating to assess the quality of financial management in Texas public schools, measure and report the extent to which financial resources assure the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes, to ensure a system that fairly and equitably evaluates the quality of financial management decisions, and to increase overall financial accountability within Texas’ public education system.
Chief Financial Officer Tina Knudsen received the honor from the district’s board of trustees.
Executive Director of Communications & Community Services Christina Courson touted the award.
“We recognize a department that has contributed significantly to the financial management of resources in a way that has enabled this school district, with the Board’s leadership and support, to leverage our resources in the relentless pursuit of excellent and equitable results for our Lions,” said Courson.
Last week, the district was able to refund the 2014 bond series on, resulting in a total savings of $14,710,649, or 21.872 percent, for the tax years 2021 to 2044. 
At the July 27 regular Board meeting, the district’s board of trustees approved an order authorizing the issuance of unlimited tax refunding bonds. The current market provided the school district a strategic opportunity to take advantage of lower interest rates, saving the district money in its debt service tax rate. 
The total actual savings of $14.7 million exceeds the July projected savings of $5 to $12 million dollars. 
The bond refunding does not extend the original maturity dates. The district will see a reduction in annual debt payments of approximately $640,000 annually. 
Since the average taxable value for homeowners in 2020 is $133,422, the bond refunding will save homeowners an average of $45.36 annually starting in 2022.

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