Troy BOE still prepping $15M bond issue

Published 7:38 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Troy Board of Education, working to refinance its $6.5 million debt and add $15 million for capital improvements, is preparing to take its final steps to enter the bond market.

Troy City Schools Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith said she will be traveling to New York next week to more preparations.

The Troy BOE voted Nov. 22 to refinance its $6.5 million debt service through a leasing agreement with the Educational Bonding Authority and add another $15 million in new money for capital improvements.

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While Felton-Smith said nothing is final just yet, some of those improvements could be the construction of a new middle school, a new high school cafeteria and classrooms for Pre-K.

“There is not a guarantee you can get all of that out of the $15 million,” Felton-Smith said.

Felton-Smith said when the board approved its capital plan in September, the first item on the list was to improve technology, a move that board has already made this year in implementing 21st Century classrooms with reserve funds.

The second item on the list was to build a new middle school.

“We’ve gone through the process of selecting a new architect. However, we are in the process now of securing funds,” Felton-Smith said. “We believe (the middle school) would be the school in need of repairs more than the other two. We believe instruction is going great, but with improved facility, instruction can be improved.”

Felton-Smith said a location has not yet been determined for the new facility.

While Troy City Schools, like all across Alabama, has undergone its share of funding hardships in the last two years, Felton-Smith said interest rates make this an ideal time to enter the bond market.

“There is a need for capital improvements even though we’ve had two years of proration, and there’s the anticipation the fiscal year 2011 budget will be prorated. We still need adequate facilities for our students,” Felton-Smith said.

The funds from these bonds will only be allowed for capital improvements and can’t be used to create more teacher positions or pay for other day-to-day operations.

The total debt service will be $21.5 million and will be financed at around 4 percent or below, spreading payments out until 2041, as was previously reported in The Messenger.

“So when you look at interest rates being low and the costs of projects coming in lower than usual, it’s a good time (to do this),” Felton-Smith said.