LHISD sets stage for bond sale

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

The Liberty Hill ISD voted unanimously – 6-0 with Board member Anthony Buck absent – to approve the issuance of bonds at its Monday meeting, setting the stage for what the district hopes is a January sale.

Duane Westerman, with SAMCO Capital Markets, said the target date is Jan. 15 to price the bonds in the market, but he added that it could happen a couple of days earlier.

If the bonds are marketed in early January the goal would be for the district to receive the funds in February.

The maximum principle is $98.6 million – the amount approved by voters in November – with a maximum maturity date of the bonds being Feb. 1, 2049. The maximum true interest rate will be 6 percent, but Westerman said that was not the anticipated rate.

“I know that looks alarming, we’re not expecting 6 percent,” he said. “As we set the parameters, we have to be sure we have the flexibility to work through that. We did talk to our underwriting desk and took a snapshot of what the market is today, and that rate would come out around 4.25 percent.”

The interest and sinking rate of the LHISD tax rate will not be impacted by the bond sale as it is already at the capped amount of $0.50.

Westerman said the district will have two bond issues that will be callable in August and that will be monitored for refinancing options.

“We expect there to be savings there we can achieve,” he said.

The school district saved about $6 million by refunding a portion of its bond debt last year.

Bond committee recognized
Former Superintendent Dr. Rob Hart took a moment, from the other side of the dais, to thank and recognize the bond committee that worked to promote the $98.6 million bond election, which passed in November.

The total voter turnout was 8,099, and the bond passed with 4,523 in favor.

“In 2010, the last large bond election we had, the total votes were 3,455,” Hart said. “There was 1,068 more yes votes than all of the votes cast in the 2010 election. That was a challenge there, just to get that vote out, and they did that.”

The committee steps in where the school district can’t to promote the bond and rally community support.

“They have a very difficult job because we cannot get involved in this, so they are a group of volunteers, parents, community members that get together and they have to organize themselves, they have to organize the committee, they have to organize the campaign process, organize fundraising, they have to file reports for the state, and all that has to be done in accordance with the law,” Hart said. “They were a phenomenal group. They were go-getters, they were very passionate about what they did and they were very active.”

Committee members were Chair Katie Reid, Treasurer Cindy Montemayor, Glen Reid, Heather Pacheco, Becky Shaver, Rob Baughn, Lance Dean, Tracie Ortega, Traci Oehler, Larry Floyd, Tara Marshall and Karly Baughn.

New Superintendent Steve Snell echoed Hart’s comments.

“I’d like to thank the committee and thank the staff members who worked so hard on this bond,” Snell said. “It is very exciting, not only to be a part of future products, but to be a part of a district that supports kids and supports their school district.”

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