March 21--EFFINGHAM -- The Unit 40 Board of Education agreed Monday to extend $5.7 million in bonds without raising the levy.
Superintendent Mark Doan said the district on Friday received Health, Life and Safety approvals from the Illinois State Board of Education and the plan is to make improvements to two buildings that the district intends to keep long term -- Effingham High School and Central School.
The move on Monday will not change the bond payment, therefore it will not affect property taxpayers. The bonds are scheduled to be paid off in 2024.
The total amount of the project approvals was $6.4 million, but the district didn't need to levy the full amount, Doan said.
"We will not be raising property taxes, but we are extending the bonds," he said.
Once approved by the ISBE, Health, Life, Safety funds can be used for needed infrastructure improvements, such as replacing windows and doors, roof repairs and HVAC systems.
Some of the projects the district plans to accomplish at the high school the next few months include replacement of 167,000 square feet of roofing; replacement of 18 HVAC units; and adding air-conditioning to gyms; plus replacing a boiler with a new efficient boiler; and replacing some of the drainage pipes to handle water coming off the roof.
At Central school, work includes a partial roof replacement; replacing all original windows with high efficiency ones; removing a large amount of asbestos in 16 classrooms and hallways and the fine arts area of the building; plus some fire system and electrical work in that building.
Once completed, the improvements should bring Central School and the high school into a 21st Century learning environment with limited work needed for the next 20 years, said Doan.
Tim King with Kings Financial Consulting noted that the district's equalized assessed valuation has gone up over the years while the tax rate has gone down slightly. This allowed the district to keep the bond payment about the same over time.
"You will be owning your own bonds and earning your own interest at about 2.67 percent over the life of this," said King.
King described the process as "very efficient."
The closing for the Health, Life, Safety bonds will be next week, so the district will be able to begin making the contractor payments on the projects soon.
In other matters, the board:
--Hired Jodi Waymoth as Student Services Secretary at Effingham High School.
--Approved Family Medical Leave for David Gergeni and Janet Inman; and two extensions on leaves of absence for Toni Chisler and Pat Clough.
--Accepted resignations of teachers Natalie Brummer and Shanna Ambuehl at the end of the 2016-17 school year, plus Ron Reed as head boys' basketball coach.
Contact Dawn Schabbing at [email protected] or 217-347-7151, ext. 138
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