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Elyria board takes first steps in school construction plan

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ELYRIA — The Board of Education voted on several resolutions Wednesday which represent the first step in receiving funds for construction of the school district’s new schools.

Voters passed Issue 23 in November, a 3.86-mill, 35-year bond issue that will transform the face of the district with the construction of five new facilities. Roughly $140 million in state and local revenue, 67 percent of which will come from the state, will flow into the school district to fund a building plan that will break ground next year.

The plan includes one preschool-through-eighth-grade campus at the Pioneer Field site on Abbe Road; one kindergarten-through-eighth-grade campus on the site of the existing Eastern Heights Middle School on Garford Avenue; one kindergarten-through-eighth-grade campus on the site of the existing Crestwood Elementary School/former Elyria West High School in Elyria Township; one kindergarten-through-fourth-grade elementary school on the site of the existing Ely Elementary School on Gulf Road and one kindergarten-through-fourthgrade elementary school at the existing Hamilton Elementary School site on Middle Avenue.

Wednesday’s resolutions were formalities, and a necessary step requiring board approval so the district can sell bonds to receive funds for construction.

Alan Baucco, managing director of Stifel, Nicolaus & Company and the district’s bond counselor, explained to board members prior to passage of resolutions how the bonds will be sold.

The first resolution dealt with the issuance of short-term bond anticipation notes in the amount of $9.9 million, which will mature in April. This will allow the district to take advantage of federal regulations that allow for reduced interest rates for bonds under $10 million, Baucco said, which will ultimately save the district around $200,000 in interest payments over the life of the $9.9 million bonds.

The second resolution passed calls for the issuance and sale of more than $50 million in bonds and the third resolution called for the issuance and sale of $9.9 million in bonds.

In February the larger $50 million bond will be issued with proceeds being delivered in March.

“At that point the district will have all the funds available to it,” Baucco said. “We’ll have a note issue by late December and then we’ll have the remaining $50 million available on March 21.”

Superintendant Tom Jama said although the resolutions are formalities, it is still an exciting part of the process to realize that construction funds are on the horizon.

“We’re moving forward,” Jama said. “The board tonight gave the bond agent the ability to do what’s necessary to get the bonds sold, so ultimately the district has the funds to build the new schools that we supported.”

Baucco said the district was “wise and conservative” when it chose over the summer to place the issue on the ballot because interest rates were still low.

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski.



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