District’s fiscal stewardship reaps rewards for residents

By Mike Anthony

Lindbergh Schools has a longstanding tradition of “taking only what is needed” when it comes to collecting tax revenue.

During his more than 19 years of service to Lindbergh, former Chief Financial Officer Pat Lanane spearheaded that financial philosophy.

Current CFO Charles Triplett is continuing that practice with excellent results.

Since 1998, Lindbergh Schools has saved district taxpayers roughly $5.3 million through the refunding of general obligation bonds.

A bond refunding in January — the seventh since 1998 — brought the total savings to district taxpayers to $5,315,736. While that’s an impressive amount of savings to taxpayers, the district is poised to increase that savings by roughly $1.6 million.

Earlier this month, Triplett and the district’s independent financial adviser, Joy Howard of WM Financial Strategies, discussed the opportunity for the board to proceed with an advance refunding of general obligation bonds that were issued in 2007 as part of Proposition R 2006.

As proposed, the Board of Education will take formal action in January to proceed with the advance refunding of the bonds. During the Dec. 10 board meeting, Triplett noted that the only beneficiaries of the refunding will be district taxpayers.

“… The money that the district saves on that (the refunding) really is not district money. It’s the taxpayers’,” he said. “It’s money we do not collect from the taxpayers. We would adjust our debt-service tax rate downward because we don’t need to collect that money to pay off this interest. So that’s an excellent savings for the taxpayers in the community.”

With interest rates at historic lows, now is the time to take advantage of them to benefit taxpayers, Superintendent Jim Simpson told the Call.

“… We are very focused on really wringing out every penny from those low rates to help our taxpayers, and this is one more example of that,” he said. “We don’t have to do this. We could be oblivious to this … You’ve got to be thinking in these terms: ‘How can I save the taxpayers some money?'”

As we said, Lindbergh officials have a long history of being good fiscal stewards of taxpayer dollars.

For example, from 1995 to 2005, the school board rolled back the district’s tax rate an amount equal to $32 million. We believe Lindbergh’s prudent fiscal approach of “taking only what is needed” instills taxpayer confidence in the district.