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School Board moves forward with ‘Plan of Finance’
North Crawford
North Crawford

NORTH CRAWFORD - The agenda for the last meeting of 2022 of the North Crawford School Board was dominated by discussion and votes regarding the ‘Plan of Finance’ for the $4.5 million debt service resolution approved by referendum in November of 2022. The amount will be used for repairs and improvements to the district’s facilities and grounds.

The two agenda items on the December 21 agenda were for a short-term borrowing resolution, and for a long-term sale of bonds. The short-term borrowing resolution would authorize a $4.5 million ‘Bond Anticipation Note’ (BAN). The BAN is a short-term loan, taken out in anticipation of the subsequent sale of bonds for interim financing of the building and facilities projects. The other resolution would authorize the issuance and establish parameters for the sale of not to exceed $4.5 million General Obligation Refunding Bonds.

The board voted unanimously for both resolutions as presented. Jim Dworschack was not in attendance at the meeting.

Short-term borrowing

The short-term borrowing will involve a six-month loan of the $4.5 million amount that will be realized by the long-term sale of General Obligation Refunding Bonds.

This approach was recommended by Baird & Co., Inc., and is designed to give the district the flexibility to watch interest rates and move into the bond market at the most advantageous moment. It will also allow the district to earn investment income on the amount while waiting for the bond sale.

The short-term borrowing will be through the People’s State Bank, and will take effect on January 11, 2023, at 4.32 percent interest. The short-term borrowing will be paid off no later than July 11, 2023. Interest paid on the $4.5 million amount over the full six months will be $97,200. If the revenue from the bond sale is realized in time, the short-term borrowing could be paid off as soon as April 11, 2023, reducing interest paid to $48,600.

Monthly interest earned on the borrowed amount is expected to be approximately $13,000.

Bond sale

Beginning in March, the district will have obtained the bond rating, and be poised to enter the bond market at the most advantageous moment. Baird & Co., Inc. will make the purchase as directed by the district, and their all-encompassing compensation for their work will be 1.5 percent of the initial public offering price. Another 2.5 percent of the initial public offering price will pay for cost of issuance, including bond insurance premium (if any).

The purchase price to be paid to the district by Baird Co. Inc. for the bonds shall not be less than 96 percent of the initial public offering price of the bond, and the difference between the initial public offering price of the bonds and the purchase price to be paid to the district shall not exceed the four percent as specified above.

Interest will be payable semi-annually on March 1 and September 1 of each year, commencing on March 1, 2024. The true interest cost on the bonds (taking Baird Co. Inc.’s compensation into account) shall not exceed 5.5 percent (a conservative estimate, with a more likely interest rate of 4 to 4.5 percent).

The district will create a fund in the treasury separate and distinct from every other fund, designated as the ‘Debt Service Fund Account for General Obligation Refunding Bonds – 2023.’ This account will be maintained until the indebtedness evidenced by the bonds is fully paid or otherwise extinguished.

Moneys to be placed in the account will include:

• all accrued interest received by the district at the time of delivery of and payment for the bonds

• any premium not used for the refunding which may be received by the district above the par value of the bonds and accrued interest thereon

• all money raised by the taxes levied and any amounts appropriated for the specific purpose of meeting principal of and interest on the bonds when due

• such other sums as may be necessary at any time to pay principal of and interest on the bonds when due

• surplus monies in the borrowed money fund (described below)

• such further deposits as may be required by Section 67.11, Wisconsin Statutes.

No money will be withdrawn from the Debt Service Fund Account and appropriated for any purpose other than the payment of principal of and interest on the bonds until all such principal and interest has been paid in full and the bonds canceled, provided:

The funds to provide for each payment of principal and interest on the bonds prior to the scheduled receipt of taxes from the next succeeding tax collection may be invested in direct obligations of the United States of America maturing in time to make such payments when they are due or in other investments permitted by law, and

Any funds over and above the amount of such principal and interest payments on the bonds may be used to reduce the next succeeding tax levy, or may, at the option of the district, be invested by purchasing the bonds as permitted by and subject to Section 67.11(2)(a), Wisconsin Statutes, or in permitted municipal investments under the pertinent provisions of the Wisconsin Statutes, which investments shall continue to be a part of the Debt Service Fund Account.

When all of the bonds have been paid in full and canceled, and all permitted investments disposed of, any money remaining in the Debt Service Fund Account shall be transferred and deposited in the general fund of the district, unless the school board directs otherwise.

The proceeds of the bonds (other than any premium not used for the refunding and accrued interest which must be paid at the time of delivery of the bonds into the Debt Service Fund Account) shall be deposited into a special fund – the ‘Borrowed Money Fund.’

The ‘Borrowed Money Fund’ is separate and distinct from all other funds of the district, existing within the ‘Debt Service Fund,’ and disbursed soley for the purpose or purposes for which borrowed. Monies in this fund may be temporarily invested in permitted investments.

Any monies, including any income from permitted investments, remaining in the ‘Borrowed Money Fund’ after the purpose or purposes for which the bonds have been issued have been accomplished, and, at any time monies as are not needed, shall be deposited in the Debt Service Fund Account.

In other business

In other business, the board:

• learned that elementary staff recently held a personal development day digging into math and English Language Arts where teachers learned about the DreamBox program and the ways it can support differentiation within the classroom

• learned the district has received a $250,000 ‘Out of School Time’ grant aimed at addressing learning and mental health needs

• learned that Mrs. Klein was awarded a ‘Math Recovery Exploratory Tuition Assistance Award’ for Add+VantageMR Course

• heard that the 6-12 grade teachers and students will be working hard in the second semester on goals from the ‘Teach and Kids Learn’ website to establish a climate of respect, set high and clear expectations for quality work, insist on high quality by having students polish their work, read twice as much every day, write twice as much every day, establish a culture of evidence and justification in the classroom, introduce and discuss at least  one new ‘power word’ every day, think with numbers every day, maximize the percentage of time that all students are engaged with content, and make sure everyone understands a new concept or skill before moving on

• heard that Student Services staff is preparing students for the ACT

Heard that Student Services staff attended a CESA training focused on inclusionary practices

• approved Tina Volden stepping into the District Office Administrative Assistant position vacated by Angie Redman; that Jessica Pugh will step into the Elementary Administrative Assistant position; that Grace Roth will take the 4K Educational Aide position; and that Ray Strong will fill the open Elementary Educational Aide position

• approved a change in the Coaches Handbook language as follows: “The North Crawford School District supports co-curricular activities, but also supports family time for students. When possible, coaches and advisors should avoid scheduling events and practices on Sundays. In the event that a coach or advisor needs to schedule a Sunday practice or event, they need to receive prior approval from the Athletic Director and/or Middle/High School Principal. All players/participants with legitimate reasons for not attending shall receive no adverse actions due to missing the Sunday event/practice. Any open gyms that are scheduled on Sundays must be made optional.”