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Is 2012 Bond on Rockwood School District Horizon?

Board of education directors need to decide about the bond issue at the Jan. 19 meeting.

Presentations from three Rockwood School District departments at Rockwood's board of education meeting Thursday night led to board directors again discussing the possibility of placing a bond on the April 3 ballot.

"For the Rockwood District, we do rely on a bond to be issued every two years, said Dennis Griffith, Rockwood's assistant superintendent/director of administrative services in a presentation Thursday evening. "We can argue about it, but that is where we are. Whether things change in that avenue going down the road, I don’t know."

Griffith summarized points from a Rockwood bond issue committee meeting held Jan. 3. Another bond issue committee meeting is scheduled for Jan. 17. "We'll be here on Jan. 19 at the next board of education meeting, seeing if we’re going to move forward," said Griffith.

Rockwood officials reminded that the actual bond language has to state a specific dollar amount, so that likely will be the hard-core topic at the Jan. 19 meeting. Jan. 24 is the deadline for certifying the ballot language for a April ballot. Shirley Broz, Rockwood's district financial officer, said the bond attorney already had been contacted.

Griffith said about 50 people attended the bond issue committee meeting earlier this month, with "a number of schools represented."

"These are open meetings; if anyone wants to join, you sign up and you’re on the committee," said Griffith. For a list of current committee members and their respective schools, click here.

At that meeting, he said the district's finances and technology parameters were covered. For a look at the agenda, click here. He mentioned that he and his department staffers are getting quite a few questions via email.

One component that gained consensus at the bond issue committee meeting was adding back into the district's projected needs a half million dollars for technology, Griffith said. "We went through every one of the listed items. The large majority of attendees were in favor of this package of needs, and that we should proceed and present them to you at the board meeting."

Here's a list of the proposed 2012 bond issue package.

Bond-Specific Considerations

How school districts' cashflows are used often confuses people. The bulk of Rockwood School District's operating budget, namely 72.5 percent, goes toward instructing students, according to district representatives. The rest of the district's operating budget is broken down as follows:

PERCENTAGE                     CATEGORY
OF OPERATING
BUDGET
 
11.6                           Building Maintenance and Utilities
 6.9                            School Support
 4.6                            Transportation
 4.4                            Central Administration

Conversely, bond-related finances go toward capital improvements.

Broz said in a presentation Thursday night assumptions about a district bond issue are:

  • Model used currently is for an issue every two years.
  • Those new bond issues must be able to be repaid with the current levy of 68 cents.
  • Debt Service levy will not be fully eliminated until the current debt is repaid (2027).
  • The district's facilities and bond issue committee members will work in tandem with the finance committee to find a balance between the project list and the amount of new debt able to be repaid within the current Debt Service levy.
  • Projects will be reviewed to identify operating cost increases or savings.

 

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