By Kathi Bliss
After extensive discussion with their financial advisors, the Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees offered to sell a bond in the amount of nearly $64 million on Monday night.
According to Jennifer Douglas of Specialized Public Finance, issuing one bond for the entire, approved amount of $63.915 million is the safest option for the District, because it will lock in the interest rate, and allow LISD to qualify for additional state funding during the coming biennium.
Although the Board originally had the option to borrow the money in two separate bond issuances, Douglas, backed by information presented by the District’s CFO, Tina Knudsen, suggested funding one bond package this summer would create a savings of more than $85,000 in the cost of the bond issuance, and would guarantee the District $1.3 million more in state assistance over the next two years.
However, the information noted, borrowing the entire amount now does create an additional temporary tax burden for taxpayers, with the average homeowner seeing an increase expected to be around $23.79 per month.
Douglas said her firm would begin the process of selling the bond this week, and return to the Trustees in July with offers in hand.
Only Trustee Juan Alvarez voted against the motion to issue the entire bond amount at this time.
In a related item, the Trustees reviewed a project timeline and draw schedule that shows most of the work on the campus renovations to be funded by the bond package will begin by next March.
The bulk of the work, according to Project Manager Robert Gadbois, will be scheduled in the summer, with the HVAC work and the capital improvements at Clear Fork Elementary slated to begin this summer.
If the schedule timeline is met, all renovations will be complete in time for the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
In another related item, the Trustees approved several Requests for Qualifications to begin negotiations with an asbestos consultant, a geoconsultant and underwriting firms related to the projects.
In brief news:
The Trustees recognized dozens of students and volunteers, including: Beautiful Lengths donors from Plum Creek and Bluebonnet Elementary School; All-District team members from the baseball, softball and soccer teams; DECA and TAFE national qualifiers; Bluebonnet Elementary School WatchDOGS; and parent and community volunteers from Bluebonnet and Clear Fork Elementary Schools.
They heard information about the budgets for food service, debt service and the general fund, as well as information about employee insurance contributions and employee pay scales.
The Trustees also convened in a closed session to discuss possible real estate purchase for a new elementary school to be built with the funds from the bond package.
The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Conference Center at Lockhart High School. The meetings are open to the public and are broadcast at www.lockhartisd.org.