Board approves bonds for school renovations

A special hearing held during the Huntington County Community School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees meeting on Monday, Aug. 28, brought forth no public opinion about how the school corporation should fund the proposed renovation to school facilities, including equipment and technology improvements.

The board later adopted a project resolution to issue a $5 million general obligation bond, with additional capital projects fund money to go toward the projects.

Tyler Loeffelholz, of the CPA and municipal consultant firm Umbaugh & Associates, presented information on the corporation’s outstanding debt service, payments and amortization with issuing the 2017 bonds.

“These bonds would be paid back by January of 2020, and a conservative estimate of the total interest cost would be about $119,000,” he told the board.

Loeffelholz added there is no anticipated net impact on the school corporation’s debt service fund and the new bonds would not raise the tax rate.

Assistant Superintendent for Business and Classified Staff Jon Bennett presented a lengthy list of facility improvements to be funded by the 2017 general obligation bonds, with immediate needs including replacing carpet at Andrews, Lincoln and Flint Springs elementary schools, replacing the chiller at Horace Mann Education Center, converting the pool at Salamonie Elementary to a multi-purpose fitness area, repairing the track at Crestview and Riverview middle schools, upgrading phones at Riverview, resurfacing the staff parking lot and rebuilding the tennis court at Huntington North High School and filling cracks in the roof and parking lot at the administrative service center.

“If the board continues to move forward with the bond sale, we would do it the same way we did with the $2 million general obligation bond we took out three years ago,” Bennett said. “We would continue to put forth and make recommendations to the school board and wait on the board to approve the new contracts.”

Hearing no objection from the public, the board unanimously adopted the project resolution, preliminary bond resolution and reimbursement resolution.

In other business, the board presented its first official reading of the “redistricting compass” of tasks that was formed during its public work session on Aug. 21.

Superintendent Randy Harris said he spent the last week touring elementary school buildings and plans to have realistic capacity numbers for those schools that will be open in the 2018-19 school year.

He added that he will begin to take a harder look at the redistricting maps that were proposed in the spring to determine exactly where the lines should go, particularly in Huntington.

“If we move a street, we could gain or lose multiple students to an elementary district,” he said.

Harris said he plans to present a rough draft of the new map to the board at its Sept. 11 meeting and hopes to have it completed by the first or second board meeting in October.

Other business of the board included:

• Adoption of two policies regarding teacher appreciation grants and legal settlement and transfer students.

• The board was presented with the PL221 school improvement plans for each school. However, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Chad Daugherty said the Indiana Department of Education has embargoed all ISTEP results until Sept. 9, which means schools will have to resubmit their plans to the state by Sept. 15, after they receive the testing results.

The plans will be posted on the HCCSC website as electronic files, Daugherty added.

• The board approved its consent agenda with the exception of an item to approve administrator contracts. That item was tabled until the next school board meeting on Sept. 11.

Harris said the items are simply extensions to the contracts with no changes to the administrators’ salaries.