The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $5.49 million bond issuance Tuesday and is expected to issue the remainder of a previously adopted $16 million-maximum intent notice in early 2017.
The school board will approve bond bids at its Aug. 9 meeting, and the bond sale is expected Sept. 1, SOCSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway said.
Tuesday’s resolution came after trustees approved the financing package for a new grades 6-7 partnership school with Mississippi State University in May.
Payments on the $5.49 million bond will be spread across 15 years, Holloway said, saving the district about $1.7 million in interest compared to a 20-year issuance.
The resolution also authorizes the district to extend payments past the 15-year threshold if savings opportunities emerge, he said.
SOCSD trustees are expected to pass a second, $10.5 million bond package early in 2017.
School board members and district administrators have touted the financing initiative as a tax-neutral move that will utilize expiring millage to keep rates level. Approximately 2.9 mills are set to roll off the books later this year once the district pays off debt generated by previous bonds.
Holloway said the district must spend 5 percent of the proceeds six months after receiving the funding. Construction contracts on the school are expected by March, he said, allowing the district to meet that requirement.
“We probably have about 90 percent of the general design done,” he said. “We’ve talked about several scenarios. We have schematics on individual rooms, but we’re still trying to get (spatial figures) down. After we did programming on a 120,000-square-foot building, then we were planning on 185,000 square feet. Now it’s back down to about 142,000 square feet, which is 118 square feet per student, which is on the low end of middle schools across the United States.”
State lawmakers previously allocated $5 million toward the project, but language in House Bill 1729 required the school district to pledge its own funding before the state commits an additional $5 million next year.
At least $10 million is needed locally to build the partnership school after the university pledged $10 million — most of which involved a land donation — toward the estimated $30 million project.
Language written into May’s bond intent notice also allows proceeds to go toward purchasing equipment and technology for the new school; fund renovations for Overstreet Elementary School, which will house fifth graders; make district-wide renovations and repairs; and address roofing needs on SOCSD buildings.
Remaining funds will go toward other projects to help SOCSD accommodate state-mandated consolidation.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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