Lindbergh board OKs issuance of COPs to fund construction of new Central Office

District officials pleased with number of bids, interest rates

Charles Triplett

Charles Triplett

By Mike Anthony

The Lindbergh Board of Education voted last week to adopt a resolution authorizing the issuance of $6 million in bond-like certificates to fund the construction of a new Central Office building.

Board members voted 4-0 to approve the resolution authorizing the issuance of certificates of participation, or COPs, to reimburse the district for the purchase of the former Johnny’s Market site and to fund the construction of a two-story, 24,000-square-foot administration building on the site.

The district closed Jan. 11 on the roughly $1.66 million purchase of the 2.2-acre property at 11555 Gravois Road.

Lindbergh’s Central Office currently is housed at Lindbergh High School, and oc-cupies roughly 20,000 square feet there.

The district’s Central Office has 12 de-partments and about 50 employees overseeing such district-level programs as technology, facilities, curriculum, finance and human resources.

Construction of the new Central Office building will be completed by fall 2017, restoring eight to 10 classrooms at the high school to address the surging enrollment the district is facing.

Proceeds from the COPs also will be used to fund the renovation of the existing Central Office space at the high school into classrooms after the new administration building is constructed.

Voting in favor of the resolution during the March 29 special meeting were board President Kathy Kienstra, Vice President Don Bee, Secretary Karen Schuster and board member Gary Ujka. Absent were board members Vicki Lorenz Englund and Kara Horton.

The district received nine bids for the COPs, according to Chief Financial Officer Charles Triplett. The bids were evaluated on the basis of the true interest cost, or TIC, which is a combined measure of both the underwriting fees and the interest rates.

First Bankers’ Banc of St. Louis, which submitted the lowest bid, was selected as the underwriter for the COPs. First Bankers’ Banc’s TIC was roughly 2.74 percent. The highest bid had a TIC of 3.06 percent, a difference of about $256,000 in total costs for the life of the COPs, according to the chief financial officer.

The district’s independent financial adviser, Joy Howard of WM Financial Strategies, distributed a graphic of the 20-Bond Index for the past 24 months.

“… What it’s showing you is that hit a really fantastic time in the market, and I was very concerned after our proposals came in — that was right about the time the feds were talking about maybe increasing rates and I thought they would go sky high …,” she said, noting that didn’t happen, although the rates were “a tad higher than at the time of the proposal — all of 3 basis points.”

As a result, Howard said, “We did really well, and if you remember, we had nine proposals. So apart from the market being good, we really had incredible rates just through the competitive process …”

Triplett told the Call that district officials were pleased with the number of bids received and the resulting competitive in-terest rates.

“We feel very fortunate to get such good, low rates. We know that it is largely due to the long history of sound financial management by the district that gives us a top-notch rating and brings many more bidders to our bond sales than is typically found by public institutions,” he said.