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WJBD - Local News - Centralia High Board Moves Forward on Sale of Bonds

Centralia High Board Moves Forward on Sale of Bonds

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The Centralia High School Board has declared its intent to issue $2-million in working cash fund bonds.  The bond issue would be completed with the refinancing of the $10-million in remaining debt on construction of the new high school.  

Superintendent Chuck Lane says $1-million of the new bonding would be savings from refinancing the school construction bonds at a cheaper interest rate.  He is looking at the money as a possible solution to mandated life safety improvements at the current Evers Field football stadium or for construction of a facility at the new campus.  

Board member D.K. Klein abstained because he thinks more study is needed on either returning the save interest money to the taxpayers or for educational purposes.  "It seems like we are spending a large amount of money for a program that basically affects 80 and 100 students right now, whereas we could also spend a lot of money for things in the classrooms.  New computers, iPads for every student who goes here, things that will help them get a college degree or a job after they leave here. I don't know if a new football stadium is going to any of those things,"  said Klein.

However, Klein said he didn't vote no to the motion to begin the process to sell the bonds because he understands they need to do something with the football stadium.  

Right now, Lane says the district is not allowed to use the stadium facility at all, but he is continuing to work with the state to be able to utilize the facility for another year with minor improvements.   But he says that is not a long term solution.  "We can't just stick our head in the stand and just say we aren't going to fix the football field, because then we won't have a football field. It would be nice to refinance it and just give the money back in  taxes.  But I don't know what other option we have.  We're in a crisis mode down there," said Lane.   "I think this is the most feasible thing for us to do."  Lane agreed with Klein that some public meetings need to be held before a decision is made on how the money is used. 

Board member and former football coach Larry James feels it would be less expensive to blow up the current facility and start over rather than trying to make all the needed repairs.  

Lane was pushing the board to act quickly on the bond refinancing because interest rates are beginning to rise which would reduce the amount of savings on interest cost.  The board selected Stifel Nicolaus to be their bonding agent because they committed to selling at least part of the bonds to local buyers.  

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