St. James schools bond plan could pay off

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

By David Vitrano


LUTCHER – The St. James Parish School Board will seek $2.5 million in General Obligation School Refunding Bonds, but the move will increase neither the district’s nor the taxpayers’ financial burden.

According to bond attorney Hugh Martin, the move is akin to refinancing the mortgage on one’s home, and the new bonds, which the district hopes to get for a low interest rate, will be used to pay off existing bonds.

Martin said he expects the district to be able to sell the bonds for an interest rate as low as 2 percent.

“If we were selling them tonight, it would be even better than the 2 percent,” he said.

Martin said he will solicit banks in Louisiana to keep the costs as low as possible. The move is expected to save the district about $54,000.

The bonds that the proposed bonds will pay off were originally issued in 2002 and were used for various school construction projects.

Approval for the move is not expected to come from the state bond commission. After that, proposals will be sought and presented at the Dec. 13 school board meeting.

In other action Tuesday, the board approved a bid for furnishings for the new media center at Lutcher High School, which was completed over the summer.

The bid, which includes the furnishings plus delivery and installation, was just under $90,000 and came from School Specialty.

Director of Technology Rob Logan said this part of the media center project was delayed because of a procedural mistake made when the district first sought furnishings for the new facility.

“We would have been ready for the last board meeting, but we had to wait for a sample to come in,” said Logan.

He explained that although the bid was the lowest, the district also took matters such as the quality of both product and work into consideration.

Logan said the furniture should be installed in about eight weeks.

Lastly, the board approved the resignation of Curriculum Facilitator Mandy Boudwin, effective Nov. 7.

Superintendent Alonzo Luce said the district has not yet decided whether it will advertise the position because next year’s school configuration must be worked out, and there may be an administrator already employed by the district who can be moved into the position.