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Plan will save USC dollars

By Staff | Apr 24, 2016

United South Central’s School Board had plenty of business to discuss at their April 19 meeting. Their greatest order of business could end up saving the school district over $200,000.

Greg Baufield and Michael Hart of Northland Securities of Minneapolis, talked with the School Board about restructuring some of USC’s older bond issues with the help of Northland Securities in order to create quite a bit of savings for the school district.

Hart said Northland Securities’ proposal is to re-open some of USC’s bonds from 2008 that meet certain parameters. Northland Securities would then propose the district issue a new bond with lower interest rates to create large savings.

“The new bond issue would be $1.22 million with a call date of Feb. 21, 2019, which is the first day you can repay the bond issue,” explained Hart. “What this type of refinancing proposes you do is borrow the dollars and hold it in escrow funds until you are prepared to pay the bonds in 2019.”

Hart says this allows USC to take advantage of the current low interest rates for bond issues today.

“In the last six weeks, it has been a time frame where interest rates have been as low as the rates in the 1960s,” says Hart.

USC’s current payments are $160,000 per fiscal year. With the refinancing, the district could see savings of approximately $20,000 per year, which over a 10 year bond would work up to $209,000 in savings, according to Hart.

“We’re at this low point, and we want to capitalize on that,” said superintendent Dr. Jerry Jensen to the School Board. “I think it’s safe to say that things won’t go much lower than this.”

“The only reason you are doing this is to save money,” said Baufield. “We want to bring that levy down as much as we can to save this school and your taxpayers some money. It’s a wonderful time to take advantage of these savings and pass them on to the taxpayers.”

The resolution for the bond refunding from Northland Securities was ultimately passed by the board with a 6-0 vote.

In other topics, the board decided not to take June 8 as another make up day for snow emergencies, but rather stick to their schedule of June 7 being their last day.

The board had read persuasion essays and illustrations from the first grade class that told the board why they should not use June 8 as a make up day and though the first graders’ arguments were compelling, there was another concern with the June 8 date.

“We are putting a lot of local churches in our area in a rough spot,” said Jensen. “This is not the sole reason to not take the extra day, but we are seeing their time for Vacation Bible School become smaller if we used the June 8 day. It is really pushing us later into June.”

The School Board agreed and chose not to make up the late snow day that came in March with close to a foot of snow.

The USC School Board also:

Accepted the contract for a new position at USC. The activities director/ dean of students position was created to alleviate some overlap of schedules from both the high school and elementary school principals. The position was given to Joseph Kuechenmeister.

“So the board members know about our new activities director/ dean of students position, we had a committee who met on that, which included both of our principals,” said Jensen. “We had seven candidates, but we felt that Mr. Kuechenmeister would be a great fit for our organization.”

Continues to work on their stadium with finalizations to the steps and railings. Dr. Jensen said the stands should be ready by the next track meet for USC.

Heard from board member Mike Schrader about the United South Central Education Foundation’s “Price is Right” event. Tickets are available in multiple locations throughout Wells.

“It should be a lot of fun and I encourage everyone to attend for a night of not only winning potential prizes, but sheer entertainment,” said Schrader.