SCC saves $880,168 by refinancingThe St. Croix Central School District Board of Education saved $880,168 by refinancing its debt last week.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
The St. Croix Central School District Board of Education saved $880,168 by refinancing its debt last week.
“The bonds carry an average interest rate of 2.36 percent compared to 4.5 percent and 4.75 percent on the debt we refinanced,” explained Superintendent David Bradley. “As recently as last Friday, March 23, rates had risen to the point where we were unable to achieve our targeted ‘present savings value’ of 5.5 percent. However, rates dropped a little on Monday and we were able to achieve 5.827 percent ‘present value savings.’”
Bradley said the refinancing is one way the district can make better use of the money it has before asking taxpayers for more money.
“Saving money is always good. Reinvesting it wisely and making it work for the district increases its impact without additional cost to district residents,” said board member John Hueg.
Some examples of past SCC cost savings initiatives:
-Saved $480,000 by refinancing long-term debt for Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) debt for changes mandated earlier by the state.
-Saved more than $100,000 on utilities over the past two years with implementation of an energy conservation program.
-Saved more than $40,000 annually by re-bidding and modifying the mechanical maintenance contract.
-Saved $31,000 annually by re-bidding property casualty and liability insurance programs.
-Changed insurance companies and plans on Jan. 1 which will save the district more than $35,000 in the first six months and “conservatively believe we will save over $160,000 next year on health insurance premiums,” Bradley said.
The district recently made the last payment of $800,000 on previous construction debt. That additional payment has been rolled into the recent re-financing for this year and next year.
Bradley said the amount needed from property taxes to repay district debt will remain steady through 2013. In 2014 the taxes could be reduced by this $800,000; however, Bradley is encouraging the board to consider a referendum to ask taxpayers if they would be willing to maintain that same level of taxes and use the money to take care of some of the repairs and maintenance needs at the district buildings.
“This debt restructure allows us to do more using the same total dollars,” said Hueg. “This is important as we work to keep our facilities well maintained and address changes in the programming needs for the students.”
Bradley says there are facility needs that must be addressed in the next couple years.
“Our most urgent facility needs are to replace several of the roofs, many of which have outlived their life expectancy. I believe the roofs have lasted this long because our staff has taken good care of them and made the repairs that needed to be made in a timely fashion. The district has identified a number of other maintenance items including the heating, ventilation and air conditioning at the elementary,” he said.
Bradley said any taxes generated for building projects cannot be used for any other purpose. He said the auditor tracks the expenditures by fund to make sure that funds are spent appropriately.