Archive for Thursday, June 16, 2011

School board transfers $800,000 of construction dollars to bond, interest fund

The new USD 348 Performing Arts Center was one of the projects from the November 2008 bond issue. Approximately $1 million of the $22.9 million bond will be unused and transferred to the district's bond and interest fund to help offset the increased mill levy.

The new USD 348 Performing Arts Center was one of the projects from the November 2008 bond issue. Approximately $1 million of the $22.9 million bond will be unused and transferred to the district's bond and interest fund to help offset the increased mill levy.

June 16, 2011

In their final USD 348 Board of Education meeting, the four departing school board members gave a large chunk of money back to the district patrons.

With the November 2008 Bond Issue projects estimated at finishing well under their $22.9 million estimated total, the school board voted to give back some of the bond money. The school board voted 5-2 to transfer $800,000 from its construction fund into the bond and interest fund.

The transferred money will be used to lower the bond and interest mill levy, which dramatically increased after voters approved the 2008 bond issue. The effect on the mill levy will be decided by the next school board, which will be seated in July. That board will include three members from the current school board.

“I’m comfortable with the estimates,” Cynde Frick, district director of financial operations, said. “If it were up to me, I think we’re going to have $1 million left.”

Board members Scott Lauridsen and Josh Mihesuah voted against transferring $800,000. Although they voted against it, they weren’t against transferring a large amount of money.

Prior to the final vote, Lauridsen made a motion to transfer $1 million to the bond and interest fund. That motion was voted down 3-4, with Lauridsen, Mihesuah and Board member Ande Parks voting in favor of it.

“Out of the $22.9 million bond, we’ve done everything we wanted to do and committed to do to a level that I think everybody is happy with,” Lauridsen said. “We actually built a $1 million road out of that bond money. To hand $1 million back is the right thing to do. In my mind, it also speaks for the right timing it was to do this with construction costs.”

Most of the discussion at Monday night’s meeting was focused on the amount to transfer. All of the board members were happy to give some of the bond issue dollars back to the patrons.

“My feeling is this board took on the responsibility of making the decision to pull the trigger on the $22.9 million,” Lauridsen said. “I think it’s this board’s decision on how we give some of that money back.”

Superintendent Paul Dorathy and Frick informed board members that they estimate $1.2 million of the bond’s construction fund will be unused. Dorathy and Frick said the board has the authority to transfer a portion of that money to bond and interest.

They suggested the board leave a portion of that $1.2 million until all of the construction projects are finished and paid for. Frick said her estimates have been close all along, but changes could happen between now and when the final payments are made.

“If you want to transfer some of that $1.2 million to bond and interest this year, it would help alleviate the mill levy situation in the 2011-12 budget,” Frick said. “We definitely know we are going to have funds left. There are some little things that still need to be determined. The question is how much do you feel comfortable transferring at this point and how much you want to save until every dollar is paid.”

Dorathy and Frick suggested transferring $500,000 this year and the school board could transfer the remaining amount in June 2012. Dorathy also said he felt comfortable transferring $750,000, but not much more than that amount.

Lauridsen and Mihesuah supported transferring $1 million. However, other board members were not comfortable with that amount.

After the long discussion, the board approved an $800,000 transfer to the bond and interest fund. The board also talked about how much of that money to use in the budget to offset the mill levy, but that decision rests in the hands of the incoming board members in July.

“My suggestion is to not use it all at once,” Dorathy said. “If we do that, it will go down one year and bounce back up the following year. I would suggest you spread it out over a few years, but that will be decided by the new board in the next month or two.”

Comments

Bloggerboo 3 years, 3 months ago

Hmm...where's Torch and Bdad calling the School Board weasels and idiots now? This is a classy move and shows just how smart it was to pass that bond when we did. It cost even less than advertised, and we are getting the levy reduced.

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Torch 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm right here.

I don't know that I've called the school board idiots or weasels. In fact I'd like you to find a post where I did so. I've called on Dorathy to shut down the rural schools for about the last six years but otherwise don't recall bashing the board much.

I have called the citizens of Baldwin short-sighted and ignorant to take on $23 million in debt on the cusp of a recession.

But now that it's really only going to be $22 million...well, that's a whole new kettle of fish!!! Now our grand children will only be in their early 50s when this gets paid off. lol.

They did the only thing they could here. The only question was how much to leave in place for unexpected expenses. You want me to pat them on the back for doing what they had to? Ok...grats on doing your job School Board.

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Julie Craig 3 years, 3 months ago

It is great that our mill levys will be lowered by this transfer. Are there any plans to add sidewalks or parking lots with the remaining funds?

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baldwinfan 3 years, 2 months ago

I imagine that bonds are a little different, but just put the whole amount towards the principle and re-amortize over the remaining life of the loan.

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