Rogers school officials happy with bond sale rate
ROGERS — School District officials secured a better interest rate than expected on bonds sold for construction of the next elementary school.
Robert W. Baird and Co., a financial services firm based in Milwaukee, Wis., submitted the lowest rate of 3.16 percent among five firms that bid, according to Jake Haak, the district’s chief financial officer. The School Board accepted the bid at its meeting Tuesday.
The district had been expecting bids to fall somewhere in the 4 percent range before bids were revealed June 27, Haak said.
“Looking at the market two weeks before and two weeks after, we really hit at the right time to get the lowest bid that was out there. So we feel very positive about that,” he said.
The lower-than-expected rate allows the district to save some money for other capital projects, Haak said.
The bond sales are expected to raise $17.9 million for an elementary school scheduled to open in August 2019 on the southern portion of 80 acres the district owns at West Garrett and South Bellview roads.
Voters approved a 3.5-mill tax increase in May, which district officials said would be used to pay for construction of the 16th and 17th elementary schools and improvements at other schools. A timeline for construction of the 17th
elementary school hasn’t been determined.
In other financial news, Robert W. Baird and Co. also submitted the low bid of 2.87 percent for refinancing debt from 2011 and 2012 series bonds. The board approved that bid as well.
Refinancing those bonds allows the district to achieve nearly $2.4 million in savings, which will be placed in the building fund for future
use as needed and approved by the board.
A factor in the low rate is the district’s excellent financial position, Haak said. Investors consider debt service ratio, or the assessed value of the district compared to its overall indebtedness.
“One thing I think we can be proud of is our debt service ratio is the lowest in Benton and Washington counties,” Haak said.
In personnel moves, the board approved hiring Cindy Rice as one of four assistant principals at Heritage High School. Rice had been an academic facilitator at the school. She replaces Keith Kilgore, who was chosen in May to be the district’s athletic director.