Warren County School Board cuts costs through refinancing

Derrick Forsythe
Staff Writer

In the wake of uncertain economic times, the Warren County R-III School Board recently took advantage of the opportunity to provide some relief to the budget.

Through the refinancing of the Series 2015 bond at .87 percent, the district anticipates a savings of around $298,813 over the next six years. The bond, which was originally for $10 million to cover construction across the district, has a maturation date is March 23, 2026.

“We’re really capitalizing off the chance to save the district money over the long term,” said Superintendent Dr. Gregg Klinginsmith. “We want to consider any way we can save.”

It was a breath of fresh air during a period where difficult decisions have had to be made and discouraging news received. The closing of schools in March was followed up by the failure to pass Prop W, an initiative to help raise staff salaries that was on the ballot for a second time in less than a year.

“To have a small silver lining amidst the pandemic — in that the interest rates are super low— we’ll take any good as a positive that came from this terribly unfortunate situation we’re all in,” said Board President Laurie Wenzel. “For us as a board, that little piece of blessing was in the form of being able to capitalize on the current economy regarding our debt.”

R-III works in collaboration with investment advising firm L.J. Hart and Company on its bond projects. In exploring ways to save, this reduction in interest was offered.

“This opportunity presented itself and we were able to execute it,” said Klinginsmith.

“We’re looking for every way we can gain more revenue or cut more expenditures or save money,” said Wenzel. “We’re trying hard to balance the budget for next year.”

Klinginsmith says he expects the district will be close to a balanced operating budget for this upcoming year. Wenzel says the challenges exist in budgeting for the 2021-22 school year.

“We have committed as a board that we no longer want to deficit spend,” said Wenzel. “This helps us moving forward, so we don’t have to continue to spend our savings.”

R-III has a board workshop scheduled for Thursday to finalize the budget for fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

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