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Rugby school board eyes zero interest bonds

By Staff | Aug 12, 2009

The Rugby School Board will likely apply for zero interest bonds provided by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) through federal stimulus funds designated toward school building projects.

At its Aug. 11 meeting, the board met with Myron Knutson of public financial management to discuss the possibility of accessing Qualified School Construction Bonds to fund major improvements to the district’s buildings.

The board has been working with an architect to determine what upgrades are necessary, specifically in its oldest wing of the Jr.-Sr. High, which was built in 1957. There is approximately $25 million in interest-free bonds available this year and next year through the program.

Board member David Anderson said it is an opportunity that doesn’t come by very often – to receive zero-interest financing. Other board members agreed the district should at least apply for the bonds, since there is no obligation to proceed if a building improvement project doesn’t get public support.

Of course, the district would likely need to pass a bond referendum in the future to proceed with a large-scale project, maybe as soon as next February or March. A super majority, or 60 percent, would have to approve the bond issue. And school officials would have to do their homework in explaining the need and benefits of a large-scale project.

The board did discuss requesting as much as $5 million. The district would have up to three years to service the debt and complete the project.

Jeff Lind, school superintendent, was going to contact DPI to receive more details about the Qualified School Construction Bond program and report to the board at the Sept. 8 meeting. It’s possible the board could give the go-ahead to apply for funds.

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