Superintendent Ptacek discusses sales tax bonds, impact on District 117

By Gary Scott on June 26, 2017 at 12:49pm

District 117 board members are focusing on two major items: the district-wide re-boundary process, and sales tax bonds.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek joined WLDS’ AM Conversation this morning to discuss the various developments within the district.

Ptacek breaks down the monetary figures the district is potentially looking at, and where that money is coming from.

“We can generate it looks like $11.7 million in sales tax bonds with the remaining sales tax revenue, so the sales tax revenue will provide us the annual money flow to be able to generate that amount of bonds. If we sell $10 million or less in one year, we get a bank-qualified option, which hopefully can reduce the rate, which therefore will maximize for a given amount of money. We add $13.7 million on to the $32 million, we’re ending up with $43.7 million off of the sales tax and some of the money generated from the agreement with South Jacksonville about the TIF,” says Ptacek.

Ptacek talks about the prospect of building a new elementary school, and why that possibility isn’t feasible.

“We’ve come to the understanding that we’re not going to be building a new elementary school for a couple different reasons. One, we just don’t have the money, that’s $55 million. Then we understand that to have that happen you’d have to have a property tax bond referendum, and given the whole issue about property taxes going on right now in the state, the concerns about property taxes, and the fact that many people in this community don’t want to lose their neighborhood schools, we understand that’s not going to pass, and we’re not even going to move that direction,” Ptacek explains.

While the District isn’t looking at building a new elementary school, Ptacek explains what they’re hoping to accomplish with the bond money.

“You’ve got to look at your oldest schools and just do a Lincoln renovation, starting with your elementary schools. I’ve kind of categorized it into three separate categories; need, instructional need and need for the building; impact, economic development impact for the community; and then the last one is savings for the rest of the budget over time,” says Ptacek.

The Superintendent also made it clear that since these are sales tax bonds, they will not have an impact on local property taxes.

For more on the current developments within District 117, check out both of our interviews with Ptacek – on AM Conversation as well as What’s On Your Mind – at WLDS/