Clarke school board OKs $60M bond sale to launch construction projects

The Clarke County Board of Education has approved the sale of $60 million in bonds to launch the next phase of sales tax-funded school construction projects. Upcoming projects include renovations at all four of the school district’s middle schools, especially Hilsman . A portion will help pay the cost of demolishing and replacing Oglethorpe Elementary School, which has already begun.

 

The school board’s good credit rating and investors shifting money into bonds made for a 1.3 percent yield called “an excellent rate” by banker Todd Barnes.

When the bonds were offered for sale Thursday, they sold immediately, he said.

The school board, like many other school districts, borrows bond money in anticipation of collections of a special voter-approved 1 percent sales tax dedicated to construction and infrastructure projects. It pays the money out as sales tax collections come in from the state.

The tax is expected to yield at least $112 million over five years.

Early cost estimates for some of the upcoming projects were $25 million for Hilsman and about $10 million per school for the other three middle schools

The school board is looking for ways to cut a multimillion dollar deficit in its proposed 2017-18 budget, but is not allowed by the state law to use proceeds from the sales tax.

Follow reporter Lee Shearer at www.facebook.com/LeeShearerABH or https://twitter.com/LeeShearer

 

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