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Special election Tuesday for PSD

By Staff, 05/4/17 1:49 PM

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PRESCOTT – Voters in the Prescott School District are being asked to go to the polls Tuesday, May 9, and vote to allow the district to refinance its bonded indebtedness for a number of specific projects.

The election has nothing to do with taxes or millage increases. If passed, the measure would allow the district to sell its current bonds and extend its bonded indebtedness another 10 years. Much like a second mortgage on a home, this would provide the district with cash up front, $850,000, for the planned projects.

The projects include a new roof for Prescott High Schools. The current roof has been patched and repaired several times, but Superintendent Robert Poole told a gathering at Munn’s Chapel Baptist Church Wednesday night, it still leaks anytime it rains. Other projects include new seating for the PHS auditorium, air conditioning for the Prescott Sports Arena and more security cameras around the district to improve security for the students, faculty and staff.

Poole has discussed the need for the issue to be passed at a public meeting and in school board meetings. He’s pointed out the Arkansas Department of Education has approved a new roof for PHS and will pay 65 percent of the cost. However, the district is required to fund the rest, which will be around $350,000. The other proposed projects had nothing to do with the ADE.

Should the issue fail, though, the state will still require the district to install a new roof on PHS and pay the entire cost. The district will be given a timetable to get this done, and should it fail, the state could place the district in financial distress and take it over.

Poole has repeatedly said refinancing the bonds has nothing to do with the district’s millage or property taxes. Property taxes will remain the same, as will the millage rate. What this will do, if approved, is allow the district to extend the time for paying off its current bonded indebtedness. Again, like a second mortgage taken out by a homeowner, what it does is pay off the current loan, create a new loan, or bond issue in the district’s case, and extend the time required to pay the loan/bonds off.

During the recent public meeting, Poole told those gathered in the auditorium this is how school districts raise money – by refinancing bonded indebtedness. He said bonds are practically never paid off because there’s always something needing to be done districts don’t have the money for.

Should the measure pass, the bonding company, First Security in this case, will look for the best interest rate possible. It has been stated the rate could be higher or lower than that being paid on the current bonds. As Poole said, this will add 10 years to the bond’s being paid off.

Recently, the Prescott City Council voted to extend the city’s bonded indebtedness for water and sewer projects. The school district is doing the same thing, but requires the approval of district patrons in a vote.

Voting will be done in the lobby at PHS on May 9. Early voting is going on and can be done at the Nevada County Courthouse.

LEAK3 LEAK2 LEAK1These are photos submitted showing the damage being done by rains at Prescott High School.

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