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Fox River Grove planning to refinance bonds

Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 3:08 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 10:00 p.m. CDT

FOX RIVER GROVE – The District 3 school board made a financial move this week that is expected to help the district save about $60,000 through the 2022 fiscal year.

The district plans to refinance $1.75 million in bonds it took out in 2004, after it had a successful referendum.

Superintendent Tim Mahaffy said there will be a roughly $10,000 to $12,000 savings a year, which will be money the district will not have to collect in its bond and interest property tax levy. The total savings is expected to be about $60,000 over the life of the bond.

Mahaffy said that amount is the equivalent to a teacher's salary and benefits and an instructional aide.

The amount saved won't be finalized until the bond sale, which is scheduled to take place in June. Mahaffy said the move will require the district to go through another bond rating with Standard and Poor's.

The district's current bond rating is AA, and Mahaffy said he doesn't expect it to change.

In the bond refinancing, the district plans to keep the same maturity dates on the bonds, Mahaffy said.

When the district took out the original bond in 2004, it used the money to help maintain programming such as music, arts and physical education. The district had a financial "early warning" status with the state for two years.

"We were able to keep class size down and [the teaching staff] in tact," Mahaffy said.

In other board action, the board decided to keep running its buses at the same time when it has late start Mondays during the school year.

The district has 26 late starts a year, so teachers can have staff development time one hour before class begins.

For this school year, it kept the buses running at the regular time on late start days, and provided supervision at the school for students, Mahaffy said. He added middle school students have been using the time as a study hall.

Mahaffy said roughly 18 percent of the students in the district come to the supervision period before school began on late start days. Of those students, 62 percent of them have came to school on a school bus.

"The decision was made because the community is used to it and it has worked well," Mahaffy said.

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