Sedalia 200 Approves Sale of $6.6M Lease Financing for New Co-Op
On Monday night, the Sedalia 200 School Board met at Whittier High School and approved the sale of over $6.6 million in lease financing to help construct a new Early Childhood Co-Op Center and administrative office space.
The approved sale is for $6,640,000 in Lease Certificates of Participation to Municipal Bond Underwriter, L.J. Hart & Company of St. Louis, MO. A public hearing was held at the beginning of the meeting for community members to ask questions about the issue, however no residents asked anything.
The proceeds from the certificates will be used to construct a new Early Childhood Center, which will also house administrative office space. It was emphasized that completing the new facilities does not require an increase in the district's existing capital project's fund levy.
According to Larry J. Hart, the CEO of L.J. Hart & Co, the certificates were offered to local institutional and individual investors. It was also mentioned that The Missouri Bank II participated. Sedalia 200 Superintendent Steve Triplett had previously said he was pleased that efforts were made to accommodate investors from within the Pettis County community and surrounding area. "It is nice that our marketing procedures facilitated this local involvement while still receiving attractive interest rates," Triplett said.
According to information in the board packet, members selected the negotiated sale of certificates in order to capture current market conditions, to be certain that local individual investors and banks received an opportunity to purchase certificates and because the proposed interest rates were fair based upon conditions in the municipal bond market. Dr. Harriet Wolfe, CFO for Sedalia 200, stated the district compared proposed interest rates with the national bond indexes and other comparable Missouri issues, along with those of other states with a similar rating quality. "Based upon pricing of these other financings (as of Feb 25), the date-firm rates were proposed to the district and the national indexes for A-rated revenue bonds, our rates were as good or better in many cases than other negotiated sales for a similar quality level of bond issue," Wolfe said.
According to L.J. Hart and Co, the certificates are scheduled to mature April 15, 2020 through April 15, 2027. Yields are expected to be reoffered ranging from 2% to 2.8% with total interest expense coming in more than $45,000 lower than the original projections. The district is selling over $6.6 million of the certificates at a premium that reportedly produces $118,364.75 of funding for the project. It was noted that the projection is over $89,000.00 greater than previous estimates.
The certificates carry an "A+" rating from Standard & Poor's and the district has an "AA-" issuer credit rating from S&P, based on an evaluation of overall credit worthiness.
The certificates contain an optional redemption provision on April 15, 2024, at no penalty, that will facilitate the reduction of future interest expense in the event of prepayment or a future refunding to lower rates, if market conditions make it feasible.
The financing proceeds are expected to be availble to the district by March 13, 2019. Additionally, the district will reinvest the proceeds to earn more interest to be used in the completion of the projects.
In other action pertaining to the new Early Childhood Center, the board looked at proposals for hiring a firm for both surveying and geotechnical engineering services for the project.
Sedalia 200 received proposals from ES&S and Gram Engineering + Design, both from Sedalia.
The board accepted the low bid from Gram Engineering + Design, LLC for $8,400.00 and noted the proposal covers two areas to be surveyed.
Area 1 will be the development site for the Early Childhood project, and Area 2 will be for any future site development.
Information from Superintendent Triplett indicates the district is in a position to save money if the two areas are surveyed all at one time.
After discussion of the New Childhood Center, board members moved on to other agenda items, where they approved budget amendments, along with Project Lead the Way and FACS program evaluations.
Members also gave approval to the Business and Marketing Assessment Program Evaluation and heard an update about a recent student survey related to the Career and Technology Department (CTE). Nearly 300 student responses were received. Based on some of the results, CTE plans to focus more attention on internship availability, noting that a lot of students aren't aware of possible internship opportunities.
Towards the end of the meeting, board members discussed the possibility of adding more programs and personnel to the Activities Department, some of which include assistant coaches for Junior High Boys and Girls Cross Country, Wrestling, Tennis and Cheerleading.
Members also discussed an affiliation agreement with the University of Missouri, in which students in MU's Occupational Therapy program would work in Sedalia schools to gain experience in the field.
Assistant Superintendent Chris Pyle said a positive working relationship with MU may provide Sedalia 200 with future employee candidates in this area.
Board member David Wolf said official decisions pertaining to the Activities Department and the MU affiliation agreement, would be voted on at a later date.