Milwaukee company purchases bonds for new school
Tonganoxie USD 464 awarded more than $17.5 million in general obligation bonds Monday to help fund a new elementary school.
Roger Edgar with George K. Baum and Associates, the district’s financial adviser, told the school board at its Monday meeting that Robert W. Baird and Co., a Milwaukee-based investment firm, had the winning bid earlier in the day. Edgar said the company offered the lowest true-interest cost rate of about 3.427 percent. Baird was the winning bidder among six firms. Bank of America Merrill Lynch offered the second lowest bid at 3.453, and BMO Capital Markets third at 3.455. Piper Jaffray (3.548), Raymond James and Associates (3.658) and Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley and Co. (3.821) were the last three bidders.
Edgar said the district was able to get a favorable bid because Moody’s assigned the district an A1 rating on its $17.535 million in bonds.
“I’m happy with the number of bids,” Edgar said. “It showed that everyone, I think, understood the level of security we were selling.”
It also came in under the interest rate the district used, 4.25 percent, to calculate estimated cost of debt, USD 464 Superintendent Randy Weseman said. The bond sale will help fund a new K-5 elementary school near Tonganoxie Middle School. Voters approved a $27.2 million bond issue in November. State aid will cover about $9.6 million, or 35 percent. That rate of aid will be contributed to the first issuance. Edgar said at the February board meeting that his company was “trying to fund enough of the issue to get you through the first year.”
Weseman said he was pleased with Monday’s news.
“We feel pretty good about being able to bring this financing in under budget,” Weseman said. ”At least the financing side of it.”
The board approved, 7-0, both the low bid and the issuance of bonds.
School board takes step toward tobacco-free policy
Tonganoxie High School and TMS students told the board the district needs a 100 percent smoke and tobacco-free policy.
Those students, who also are members of Transforming Tonganoxie Together, or T3, said that allowing tobacco use for adults in designated areas at school events gives conflicting messages to students. T3, which consists of local students and community leaders, focuses on helping provide safe environments in the community.
Cindy Brandau, a family nurse practitioner, spoke in favor of a policy change. Brandau noted that tobacco use accounts for $150 billion in health care costs, while another proponent of the new policy, former Kansas University basketball player Christian Moody, told the board a change was needed. Moody now is a medical student at Kansas University School of Medicine.
“I remember how difficult it was to make good decisions in junior high, high school and even in college,” he said. “I think it’s incredible advocating for their health … I’m very excited to see this, especially as a future health care provider.”
The board voted, 7-0, to review the tobacco-use policy.
In other business, the board:
• Approved, 7-0, resignations, retirements and contracts. The board accepted resignations from Debbie Garner, sixth-grade math teacher; Shanna Sparks, TES student nutritionist; John Tollefson, TMS cross country coach; and Chris Weller, TMS athletics/activities director. All resignations are effective at the end of the school year.
Contracts were approved for Susan Campbell as sixth-grade language arts teacher for the 2013-14 school year and Tonny Hoffhines as technology assistant. Nick Myers also was hired as sixth-grade math teacher, which became effective Tuesday. Campbell currently teaches two sections of seventh-grade language arts and one section each of seventh-grade language arts, science and social studies.
Teachers who plan to retire at the end of the school year are Laurie Bottenfield, sixth-grade language arts teacher; and Beth Fritz and Kay Prelesnik, fourth-grade teachers.