The District 65 School Board approved the issuance of $10 million in bonds on April 21, by a 6 -1 vote. Bonnie Lockhart cast the sole “no” vote. Dr. Mary Brown, chief financial officer, said 100 percent of the bond proceeds will be used for capital projects for the District’s buildings and life-safety work.
The April 21 action will carry out the plan adopted in 2006 to issue up to $20 million in Debt Service Extension Base (DSEB) bonds, which may be issued within certain limits without a referendum. The District issued the first $10 million in November of 2006. Of that amount, $800,000 has been spent on life safety/building projects and $3 million on technology. Of the $6.2 million remaining, $700,000 will be spent on life safety/building projects, and $5.5 million for technology, Dr. Brown said.
After the $20 million was approved, the estimated costs to pay for technology and life-safety/building projects have increased, said Dr. Brown. In an April 17 memorandum provided to the Board, Dr. Brown said, “The District’s Life Safety/Building projects and Technology needs are ongoing in nature and should be funded by a renewable source, such as DSEB bonds.” Paying for life safety/building projects and technology with bond proceeds “will provide the District with safe, well-maintained buildings, and up-to-date instructional and administrative technology, without burdening the operating budget, which is limited by tax caps,” she said.
Dr. Brown said the District may need to issue an additional $10 million in bonds in the spring of 2009 and an additional $10 million in the spring of 2012, to fund technology and life-safety/building projects.
According to a schedule prepared by Dr. Brown, the real estate taxes attributable to the District’s total bond and interest payments in calendar year 2007 were $346 on a home with a property tax bill of $8,000. Of that, $38 was attributable to the $10 million in bonds issued in 2006. The balance was attributable to the bonds issued as part of the 2000 referendum. The referendum bonds will be paid off in 2011, said Dr. Brown.
Assuming that an additional $30 million in DSEB bonds is issued according to the schedule proposed, Dr. Brown projected that the bond and interest portion of a property tax bill of $8,000 would increase from $346 in 2007 to $445 in 2010 and then drop to $185 in 2012 (the first year after the referendum bonds are paid off), to $160 in 2017 and to $45 in 2018.