School bonds could cost taxpayers less

Princeton School District officials are expecting to have good news for taxpayers when they open bond bids for the district’s upcoming $29.95 million construction project.
Favorable interest rates could lessen the cost to taxpayers, according to representatives of Ehlers, the school district’s financial adviser.
The school district is set to open bids for its $29.95 million in construction bonds on Monday, June 30, and will award the bond bids in a special board meeting later that night.
“Rates are really low on municipal bonds,” said Ehlers financial adviser Jodie Zesbaugh at the June 3 meeting of the Princeton Board of Education.
“That lowers the cost of issuance,” Zesbaugh said of the bonds.
For tax impact, on a $150,000 home, proposed taxes will potentially decrease from an estimated $136 per year to $116 per year, according to Zesbaugh and Gary Olsen, a senior financial adviser and the firm’s vice president.
On a commercial property valued at $500,000, proposed taxes would decrease from $993 annually to $848, the advisers said.
That’s because favorable interest rates, based on June 3 figures, would lower the tax capacity rate on the school district portion of taxes 1.57 percent from 10.74 percent to 9.17 percent. The tax capacity is one’s share of property taxes based on market value and class rates.
“We anticipate great results,” Zesbaugh said.
With bids being awarded on June 30, it won’t be long before construction on a new facility to replace South Elementary School can begin, since the estimated closing date on the bond sale is anticipated to be July 24.
“That’s the day you’ll have the money for the projects,” Zesbaugh said.
Improvements to Princeton High School, as well as the installation of safety and security measures and technology improvements throughout the district, will be able to be funded at that time, as well.
The projects were made possible when school district voters approved a $29.95 million referendum on May 20 of this year.
In other board news:
• A jubilant group of cheerleaders were on hand to watch the School Board reinstate the cheerleading squad as an official school sport. The squad had fallen victim to budget cuts in the 2000s and has most recently been offered as an activity through community education. The cost of reinstating the program was estimated at $14,391.
• The board set a new pay scale for people who work at school events as ticket takers, announcers, court and field workers, ushers, trainers and like positions.
• The board heard presentations on special education staffing, a “World’s Best Workforce” initiative, and a growth and evaluation process for teachers.