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— The school board on Monday unanimously approved a resolution for the final step of the district’s bond restructuring program in an effort to save the district money and improve its cash flow.

Dennis Hunt of Stephens, Inc., presented the last resolution to the board, explaining that there were four bids to restructure the 2003 bonded debt of $2.265 million. The lowest bid being that of Sterne, Agee & Leach, Inc., with true interest cost of 2.965935 percent. The highest bid was 3.088763 percent. The interest rate before restructuring was approximately 3.96 percent.

Bids for this final component of the plan also came in lower than projected in April, resulting in additional savings for the district.

Annual savings and improved cash flow because of the total restructuring plan resulted in significant savings to the district for the current fiscal year and in the following two years - approximately $476,000 in the current year and $295,000 in each of the following two years. For fiscal years 2013 and 2014, savings are modest. The district will pay more than it would have paid in years 2015-2017 but less than payments projected in April and less than it would have paid for years 2010-2014 before the restructuring.

Overall, the lower interest rates obtained and the small extension of the bond repayment schedule resulted in savings to the district and more affordable bond payments, significantly improving the school district’s financial situation.

In other business, Rachel Thrailkill, representing Peace for Kids, addressed the board regarding foreign exchange programs and bringing exchange students into Gentry Schools.

The State Department requires that foreign students coming to the U.S. be able to speak English well enough to participate in high school classes, she said. The department recommends at least 1 percent foreign exchange students but does not limit the number, she said. Most students arrive in early August and remain until after the end of the school year.

The school board in September approved on a first reading a policy change increasing the maximum number of foreign exchange students at the high school from three to six. The policy change was tabled Monday, pending review by the Personnel Policy Committee, but will come back to the board next month.

Joni Wilson updated the board on some of the technology changes in the school. Among those mentioned were a new school identification card and low-cost flip video cameras.

News, Pages 3 on 10/21/2009

Print Headline: Gentry School Board approves the final step of bond restructure plan

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