Jamestown Public School Board approves going ahead with planThe Jamestown Public School Board approved Monday moving forward with a refinancing option that could save taxpayers about $2.5 million. Under the proposed plan, the School Board would sell refinanced bonds for the Jamestown High School and Middle School project. The plan would knock off four years of payments, said Myron Knutson, who advises schools on bond issues and indebtedness. So, the bonds would be paid off in 2017 as opposed to 2021. Taxpayers would save about $2.5 million. The current debt is about $13.5 million.
The Jamestown Public School Board approved Monday moving forward with a refinancing option that could save taxpayers about $2.5 million.
Under the proposed plan, the School Board would sell refinanced bonds for the Jamestown High School and Middle School project. The plan would knock off four years of payments, said Myron Knutson, who advises schools on bond issues and indebtedness. So, the bonds would be paid off in 2017 as opposed to 2021. Taxpayers would save about $2.5 million.
The current debt is about $13.5 million.
The district would have to pay about negative arbitrage, or loss on investment, of about $290,000 because it’s refinancing earlier than allowed under the terms of the original bond, said Superintendent Bob Toso. However, now is the time to refinance because interest rates are low now and may increase, he said. That increase later could cost more than the current $290,000.
“Personally, I think it’s pretty wise to do this,” said President Roy Musland.
The board will let bids for the bonds and award them March 15.
In other business, Jamestown Public Schools as well as the West Fargo and Fargo districts applied for an AmeriCorps grant totaling about $218,000, said Amy Walters, director of student services for South East Education Cooperative. Jamestown Public Schools used to receive funds from the grant, but has not applied in about two years.
The schools would use the grant funding to improve student literacy as well as personnel for the 21st Century After School program which provides assistance for after school homework completion. Jamestown’s cash match would be about $15,400.
The districts would be notified of the award on April 15.
The district is also applying for a grant to improve its physical education program. The grant would fund professional development as well as equipment in the middle school and high school weight rooms.
Also, the School Board approved naming the gymnasium at Jamestown High School after former boys basketball coach Jerry Meyer.
Meyer coached the team to state 14 times and won the championship four times. In 2006, he was inducted into the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, said Gary Peterson, School Board member.
“He brought pride, he brought spirit to the community,” he said.
The district will hold a naming ceremony sometime next fall.
In other business, the board approved the early retirement of the four individuals who applied. The employees qualify for a total payment of $166,000, meaning they’ll each receive 100 percent of their entitled funds. The district increased the amount it budgeted for early retirement to $175,000 from $150,000 at its teacher negotiations last summer. The extra $9,000 will roll over into the district’s general fund.
In other business, the board agreed to continue its practice of not publishing the middle school and high school honor roll lists. The lists are never totally accurate, Toso said, and because some grades are turned in late, the honor rolls aren’t released until three weeks after students receive their grades. Some of the positive reinforcement for students expected in releasing the grades is lost in that time period.
Some parents have complained about the district not publishing the lists.
Musland said he disagreed with the district’s current policy. He said students should be recognized for their academic achievements.
Jamestown High School Principal Bill Nold said grade point averages aren’t always the best measure of a student’s success because students may take easier classes to get better grades.
At Jamestown Middle School, administrators want to include everybody. There, the school allows all children to play on sports teams or other extra-curricular activities with a no-cut policy. Middle school is too early to determine if a student is academically successful, said Jamestown Middle School Principal Joe Hegland.
“We don’t believe this is in the best interest of middle school students,” he said.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Jamestown Public School Board is at 5:15 p.m. March 1.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org