District 117 has moved a step closer to the complete renovation of Washington Elementary School becoming reality. The school board voted unanimously to approve a bond sale of up to $13 million during a special session last night.
District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says the action item lists that proceeds from the bond sale must go to certain construction projects. He says the approval of the sale includes approval of the underwriter in charge of the sale of the bonds.
“Our municipal adviser P.M.A. vetted all the possible underwriters and came up with Stifel as the best opportunity for us to maximize our bond sale, so they are going to be the underwriter for the bond sale. The parameters we discussed at the last meeting for the sale, this was just officially approving them to go out for a maximum of thirteen million dollars in bond proceeds.
Once again to everyone in the community, this is being paid for by the online sales tax. There is no increase in your sales tax and no increase in property tax to pay this off. Today we got numbers that it looks like it could potentially be up to twelve point seven million dollars now that we generate, and all of that money has to be used on construction projects, on upgrading facilities.”
Ptacek says increased sales tax revenue from online sales collected by the state, combined with ESSR funds that would cover $3.5 million in HVAC costs are allowing the district to proceed with phase three renovations in the Vision 117 plan without the need for an increase in property or local sales tax.
He says the new revenue stream allows for monies saved by the district in anticipation of the Washington renovation can now be used on the next step of Phase 3 of the Vision 117 plan.
“Washington has been approved, so at a minimum, we will use around eight million dollars of this for the Washington project. And then we will continue with Phase Three. The rest of Phase Three is the community engagement process to evaluate how to address the aging Murrayville-Woodson building. Which could be from a complete renovation of that building to an expansion of South Elementary and a closure of that building.
That’s what the community engagement process is going to go through, and the rest of that money would be used on that project, and it will also require some money out of our fund balance. But we’ve been saving money to do the Washington job, so this unforeseen bonus money that we are driving in is going to allow us to do two major projects.”
The district will have the first run-through of its financials this morning which is the next step in the bond sale process. Ptacek says it’s a lengthy process that will ultimately determine a credit rating for the district that will define interest rates for the bond sale.