When the sale closes on the $40 million in bonds the Fox C-6 School District sold last week, the district will collect a nearly $3.7 million premium, chief financial officer John Stewart said.
In addition, the district recently refinanced a 2013 bond series, cutting its overall debt by more than $1.7 million.
Fox voters approved a $40 million bond issue for the district in June, and the bonds were sold April 20 for $43,668,560, Stewart said.
Fox also refinanced its 2013B general obligation school building bonds, which will save the district $1,749,271 over the next six years. The district had owed about $8.75 million on the 2013 bonds, and that debt dropped to about $7 million after the refinancing, Stewart said.
“I am proud of all the work that John Stewart and his team did to get us here,” Superintendent Nisha Patel said. “They are all dedicated individuals who make sure that everything that occurs in the finance department is transparent and fiscally responsible.”
Board of Education members voted unanimously April 20 to approve the sale and refinancing.
“The sale and final numbers are a fantastic outcome for the district,” Stewart said. “Folks are hungry for decent interest rates and quality, safe investments, like school district bonds. They are willing to pay a little more to get that higher interest rate than they can get in a different investment.”
Prop P projects
The funds from the Prop P bond sale will be used to add an instructional wing at Fox High School; renovate and build an addition at Antonia Elementary School; renovate and build an addition at Meramec Heights Elementary School; add classrooms at Seckman Middle School; improve security at all school buildings; complete paving projects at all buildings; upgrade playgrounds at elementary schools; upgrade the kitchen equipment and flooring at multiple schools; and replace obsolete electric service and water lines at the Fox and Seckman campuses.
Stewart said Fox will not add more capital improvement projects even though Prop P generated a large premium.
“There are escalating costs, so we are looking at using that extra money to cover cost increases,” Stewart said. “Hopefully, this will help us address all of the projects listed in Prop P.”
While Prop P did not increase the district’s tax levy, its bond debt will be extended for 20 years.
The district’s overall tax levy is about $4.51 per $100 assessed valuation, and of that, about 39 cents per $100 assessed valuation is for the debt service levy.
The district is projected to pay the remaining money owed on the 2013 bonds by March 2027, and it is expected to pay off its overall long-term debt service, which grew to $65,200,781 after the Prop P bond sale, by March 2041, according to Fox documents.
The Fox district’s previous overall long-term debt service was $21,532,221 and was projected to be paid off by March 2032, Stewart said.
“We are in a good position as far as long-term debt goes as a district,” Stewart said. “We are in good standing. It is good.”
The Fox school board has hired Integrated Facility Services of Fenton to replace HVAC systems and lighting and complete minor room renovations in four of Antonia Elementary School’s wings and the school’s gym, kitchen and cafeteria.
The district pay IFS $1,188,989 for the project, which is expected to begin shortly after the end of this school year on May 28 and be completed by early August, Stewart said. Sections of Antonia Elementary that will be worked on this summer were built in 1955, 1958, 1961 and 1992, and those areas house classrooms for students in first through fourth grade. He said new shelving will be built along walls in 18 rooms that are worked on to get to the school’s existing HVAC system’s ducts and electric wiring.
“Our community trusted us by the passing of Prop P: Promise, Purpose, Progress for our students, and I am absolutely thrilled to see the much-needed renovations and additions occur in our district,” Patel said. “Our children deserve the very best learning environments, and this is one small step towards meeting the $150 million needs we have in capital improvements.”