JSD 117 Moves Toward Potential $13M Bond Sale

By Benjamin Cox on June 24, 2021 at 10:06am

Jacksonville School District 117 is heading toward a possible $13 million bond sale.

The board came to a unanimous consensus last night with no official action to sell the bonds. The board is set to make official approval, set tentatively on June 30th at another special meeting. The bond sale notice has to have 30 days from a previous public hearing on the matter according to law.

District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says that now is a good time for the sale due to increased sales tax revenue being collected by the state from online sales: “I want to highlight with this bond sale – the revenue for it is being derived from online sales tax. There is no increase in our local sales tax. This is not being paid for with an increase to property tax. This is taking advantage of the legislation that now requires the collection of online sales tax and giving it back to the local municipalities, and a great interest rate to get twelve to thirteen million dollars to renovate Washington and then fulfill the second part of Phase III of Vision 117, which is either the renovation of Murrayville-Woodson or the expansion of South. So, we are taking advantage of this new revenue stream that is already being paid by the community to maximize our bond sales to take care of a building.”

The bond money will also prevent the district from having to take costs from renovating Washington Elementary directly out of their general fund balance. Ptacek says that it will help provide money to cover the project plus other ongoing operations and maintenance funding for the next three years, which may possibly include another building: “We had about $8 million set aside to do Washington knowing that it was going to be an $11-11.5 million job. We’ve been $3+ million short for awhile. The ESSR funds came through. We can use the $3.5 million from our ESSR funds on the HVAC systems for that renovation, making that a job we can do; but now, that the online sales tax also got added in, we can do the online sales tax and pay for the Washington job out of that bond sale, which leaves that $8 million to do another facility.”

Ptacek said during the meeting that the district is expecting to get approximately $12.1 million from the bond sale, but due to current demand for municipal bonds, the district may get the full $13 million with no additional debt.

If the district doesn’t opt for another bond sale, the current bonds will be paid off in 2043.