Lindbergh bond refunding projected to save district taxpayers $175,000

Board OKs revised budget for 2012-2013 school year

By Mike Anthony

A resolution authorizing the sale of $3,685,000 in general obligation bonds to refund bonds issued in 2004 was unanimously approved last week by the Lindbergh Board of Education.

As proposed, the sale of the bonds, scheduled Jan. 8, is projected to save taxpayers $175,000, Chief Financial Officer Charles Triplett told board members Dec. 11.

“… Again, this does not save the district any money. We never collect this money. It literally stays in the pockets of our community because we’re able to lower the interest rate on our bonds ….,” he said. “We’ve done this before numerous times and we’ve saved more than $5 million so far by refunding bonds …”

By taking advantage of lower interest rates and refinancing bonds in 1998, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the district saved taxpayers a total of $5,117,157.

With the latest refunding, that savings is projected to increase to $5,292,157.

Superintendent Jim Simpson praised the efforts of Joy Howard of WM Financial Strategies, the district’s independent financial consultant, for her assistance with this refunding and previous ones.

“… We just hope that we can save our taxpayers money every year, if possible,” he added.

Board of Education President Vic Lenz noted, “Let me just reiterate on that. This is not a savings to the school district. This is a savings to the taxpayers. This is tax money that will never be collected, but will stay in the community, and we will still have the buildings that we have and the bonds will just be sold at a lower rate …”

In a separate matter, the board voted unanimously to approve a revised budget for the 2012-2013 school year that projects an operating surplus of $58,040.

The original operating budget approved in June projected a surplus of $29,313. The revised budget projects the surplus will increase by $28,727.

The original 2012-2013 operating budget projected expenditures of $60,969,554 with anticipated revenue of $60,998,867.

The revised operating budget anticipates expenditures of $61,304,618 with projected revenue of $61,362,658.

“… On the revenue side, revised revenues reflect an increase of almost $364,000,” Triplett told the board. “The majority of those funds come from increased sales-tax receipts and additional state payments that were not anticipated. We think the reflection of the increased sales tax may be one of the first signs of the economy turning around a bit. So that’s good news.

“And we also received additional VICC (Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corp.) funds — the voluntary transfer student funds from the ’11-’12 school year, we’ve received those this year from an underestimated amount that we had budgeted originally.”

Regarding expenditures, he said, “The revised expenditures show an increase of approximately $335,000. The bulk of those expenses are in capital projects and also in grants and title programs … (For) grants and title programs, we get revenues that we are required to spend. So the revenues are up in those areas. We’re also required to spend those revenues as well.”

Though the operating surplus almost doubled, Triplett said, “… Keep in mind that $58,000 on a $61 million budget is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of that budget.”

To achieve the surplus in the original operating budget, the board eliminated summer school for elementary and middle-school students and approved a one-year reduction of the district’s textbook budget.

While summer school will be offered for high school students, eliminating the elementary and middle-school summer school program will save $180,000. Reducing the textbook budget for one year will save an additional $320,000.

The original 2012-2013 operating budget approved in June included expenditure decreases totaling $868,000 and expenditure increases totaling $1,145,725. The increase in expenditures included $714,000 for employee salaries and benefits.

The board last year approved a two-year salary schedule for teachers that provides an annual average increase of 2.8 percent.

The schedule provided teachers with a 3.87-percent salary increase for the 2011-2012 school year and a 1.78-percent pay raise for the current school year.