In April, with two new members taking their seats on the Excelsior Springs Board of Education, Bill Halberstadt and John McGovern were elected president and vice president of the board in a narrow 4-3 vote.
However, the participation of board member Roy Arnold, who was out sick for the meeting, via a phone call made after the present board members tied in their vote for the two offices raised some concerns among members of the public.
There was no uncertainty Monday night, however, as the issue came up for ratification early in the board’s May meeting.
With little fanfare, the two men were nominated and the nominations were seconded, and the board voted 7-0 to keep them in their leadership roles. There was no additional discussion about the issue.
In other business later in the meeting, the board also voted unanimously to refinance two series of general obligation bonds from 2003 and 2004.
Dick Bartow of George K. Baum explained that his firm reviewed bond rates frequently to see if there was any opportunity for savings through refinancing.
“There are certain parameters they like to look at,” he explained. “One parameter is the current value savings. If you can achieve one and a half percent, that’s the minimum threshold—but we think that’s much too low. We shoot for closer to five or six percent, but in this case were were able to go in and achieve greatly above five to six percent.”
Monday night’s action refinances $5.2 million from the complicated bond series from the early 2000s.
“We’re able to borrow money for a 10-year period at 2.14 percent, which is just incredible. It speaks very well on behalf of the district,” he said, noting that Standard & Poor was very impressed and gave the school district an A+ rating.
By refinancing the $5.2 million in bonds, some of which is taxable and some of which is tax-exempt, Bartow said the school district would save $764,000—or 12 percent in present value savings.
In fact, Bartow added, over the past five to six years, the refinancing of general obligation bonds has resulted in significant savings.
“By refinancing when it makes sense, the district has saved taxpayers $1,984,000 in future interest expenses,” Bartow said. “I congratulate all of you and commend all of you.”
The bonds are scheduled to close in early June.
By Eric Copeland • email@example.com