PI fund benefits from bond refinancing

By Melanie Speicher - mspeicher@sidneydailynews.com

SIDNEY — The refinancing of bonds for Sidney City Schools has resulted in a much needed cash flow into the district’s permanent improvement fund.

Mark Weekley, of Robert W. Baird & Co., presented the final refunding results for the refunding school improvement bonds. Weekley said the bonds closed last week for the district.

The district’s bond rating with Standard & Poor’s was upgraded, which helped in the refinancing of the bonds, said Weekley. The district had an A+ rating, which was a good quality rating. After a presentation for S&P by Superintendent John Scheu, Treasurer Mike Watkins and Mike Burns, director with Robert W. Baird & Co., the district’s rating was changed to AA-, which is a high quality rating.

“Only 96 out of 335 rated school districts in Ohio are rated higher than Sidney City School District,” said Weekley.

Weekley said the bonds were priced on Aug. 9, at an interest rate of 1.9 percent.

“It was a great time to price bonds,” said Weekley.

By reselling the bonds, said Weekley, the district will see a total cash savings of $2,085,741 over the remaining term of the bonds. The total cash savings deposited into the PI fund for 2017 and 2018 is $1,540,228. Potential annual cash savings to taxpayers beginning in 2019 will be $54,551. The estimated millage reduction based upon the 2017 assessed value for 2019 to 2028 will be .11 mills.

“This is a win-win for the community and district,” said Weekley.

Once the transfer is approved by the Shelby County Budget Commission, the bond retirement fund will be replenished with the upfront savings from the sale of the bonds, said Weekley. After the bond retirement fund is replenished to its current balance, the millage reduction to property owners/taxpayers will begin in 2019.

Weekley commended Scheu and Watkins for the extra time and effort they put into the refunding opportunity.

“The superintendent and treasurer did an excellent job presenting to S&P,” said Weekley.”They represented the district very well and portrayed a solid management team.”

The total cash savings for the district and taxpayers over the remaining term of the bonds will be approximately $2,085,000. By transferring $1,540,000 into the PI fund, the district will be able to address capital improvement needs without asking taxpayers for additional PI levies, said Weekley.

After hearing the presentation, the board approved a motion authorizing the transfer of $1,540,000 from the bond retirement fund to the PI fund pending approval of the Shelby County Budget Commission.

A short presentation was given to the board concerning the recent report card grades. Scheu said a more in-depth report will be given at the Oct. 16 board meeting.

He said there are six different grades/components to the report card. Sidney’s lowest grade was in the gap closing category.

“It’s been elusive for us — raising up all the sub groups to what the state expects,” said Scheu. “We need to start thinking outside the box and look at our pockets of success. The middle school has a value added score of ‘A’ but the district has a value added score of ‘F.’

“Two years ago the math (score) wasn’t very good at the middle school,” Scheu continued. “So for grades six and seven, they added a double period of math. The results gave then an added value of ‘A.’”

An “A” means all students gained two year of knowledge in the subject, said Scheu.

“It’s not all doomsday,” Scheu said of the report card. “There are some pockets of success. Overall we just didn’t do the job.”

Board member Bob Smith outlined some of the information he’d like to see in the report on Oct. 16. Information he’d like to see includes scores from last year, this year’s scores and goal for next year; subdivide by building; smaller areas of success, what the district did last year to raise the score, and what can be done next year to raise the score; and what time of barriers are holding the district back.

“There are some steps (to improve results) that we are taking this week,” said Curriculum Coordinator Brooke Gessler.

By Melanie Speicher


Reach the writer at 937-539-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-539-4822.