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South Putnam refinances bonds

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The South Putnam School Corporation held its monthly meeting on Monday evening as it discussed several routine issues including board refinancing and beginning of the school year business.

The board approved the refinancing of several bonds, which will be done by City Securities.

The board's attorney, John Zeiner, presented the board with two resolutions including one allowing City Securities to be in charge of refinancing the bonds as well as the refinancing agreement itself.

Currently, the school corporation has five obligations that are outstanding, one being pension bonds.

The board, however, agreed to refinance the lease rental payments for the renovation that was done at Fillmore Elementary, a total of $8,055,000.

"This is one bond that hadn't been refinanced yet," said Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt. "Hopefully we will be able to save money over the course of the payments. We will sell them probably next week."

The bonds run through tax collection year 2021, therefore there are only nine additional years left for the repayment of those bonds.

The refinancing, which was previously discussed at last month's meeting, was agreed upon pending the amount of net savings the corporation would receive, a minimum net savings of at least $450,000.

Following the refinancing discussion, Bernhardt moved on to talk about the first few days of the new school year.

He stated that although there were some struggles with the transportation system, everything is being ironed out and is working smoothly.

Several of the younger students had issues with transferring buses, which made for longer transport times.

"It is typical with the younger students," said Bernhardt. "There was also a large amount of people driving their children, which as gone down within the past couple days."

The board also decided to purchase half of its budgeted fuel for the semester from Co-Alliance. The heating oil was purchased for $3.08 a gallon and diesel for $3.13.

Steve Ricketts of Five-Star Technologies updated the board on its completed summer projects.

Ricketts and his team have been working for the past several months preparing the buildings for the upcoming school year. Much of the technology was taken from the now-closed Reelsville Elementary, including a phone system, which was moved to transportation, smart boards and laptop cards.

"It's been a pretty good start," said Ricketts. "We've got pretty much all the technology out of Reelsville. Things are moving along well."

Ricketts also stated that the online registration, which had a few problems, was also a great success.

"It's becoming the norm," said Ricketts. "That's a good sign. However, the bad thing is that some people are waiting to the last minute."

Bernhardt believes that although the official count is not for a couple weeks, that the corporation has seen a rise in enrollment.

"Looks like we're maybe 20-30 bodies up from last year," said Bernhardt. "More students are going in than coming out. If we can hold our own and not lose students that's a very positive thing."

The following resignations were approved during Monday's meeting, sixth-grade middle school teacher Margaret Miller, Central Elementary fifth-grade teacher Kristen Rissler, high school guidance secretary Rebecca Arnold, part-time instructional assistants Susan Sandlin and Lori Evans and junior high math academic team coach Elaine Bye.

The hirings of middle school sixth-grade teacher Sarah Sterling, temporary fifth-grade Central Elementary teacher Rachel Custis, part-time instructional assistant Melissa Nees, Central Elementary part-time food service Gevina Whitinger, high school part-time food service Mary Walton, Fillmore Elementary part-time instructional assistant Christy Cash and high school boys' tennis coach Allan Rains were also approved.



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