Clear Fork BOE discusses next steps for new elementaries

By Fonda Kendrick - Bellville Star

With the passage of March’s levy allowing the construction of new elementary schools in Butler and Bellville, Clear Fork Board of Education members started discussion on the next steps forward.

Members heard a presentation during its April 14 meeting from David Conley of Rockmill Financial Consulting. He said his goal was to explain the next financial steps as plans move forward for the construction of two new Clear Fork elementaries.

“Our responsibility is to move the money into the bank so you can get on with building buildings,” Conley stated.

He said his job is to oversee the financial process and he will be making recommendations to the board on financing.

“We believe the financing transactions should be completed by August,” Conley explained, “so that’s the date that money gets in the bank. Once the money is in the bank, the State will show up with its share of the money and make it available for construction. Then you can proceed with securing architects. It takes a little bit of time to get everything ready to go, Once you issue securities, there’s a clock that starts running.”

Eighty-five percent of the funds must be spent within three years from the date the funds are borrowed, Conley pointed out, or the district may be subject to penalties.

Conley said that $10 million of the $14 million Clear Fork needs to provide would come from income taxes, while the remainder must be secured from another source.

If the district adheres to Conley’s proposed timeline, the school will get a financial rating in early August, and then bonds would be sold in mid-August. “It’s the only financing instrument you have available to you to borrow $4 million, other than putting a $4 million bond issue on the ballot.”

Although all the bonds could be bought up very quickly by large corporations, Conley recommended that the school board allow Clear Fork school district residents the opportunity to purchase bonds as well. He said local residents would be notified two weeks prior to sale of the bonds. When the bonds become available in mid-August, a previously-chosen local brokerage firm would be given a specific dollar amount of bonds by the board to offer for sale to school district residents.

“I’ve already been approached about would the community members be able to buy bonds,” noted Superintendent Janice Wyckoff.

By Fonda Kendrick

Bellville Star

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