Lindbergh bond refunding stuns with savings amount

By Mike Anthony

Wow — just wow.

That’s our reaction to the amount of money Lindbergh Schools is saving district taxpayers with its latest bond refunding.

Even the district’s longtime independent financial adviser, Joy Howard of WM Financial Strategies, was a bit taken aback by the savings.

“… This is like phenomenal. I’m always happy when I can deliver better savings than I expected, but for me, I would have been happy to say, ‘Oh, it’s $100,000 better.’ This is just kind of shocking …,” she told the Board of Education last week.

In December, the board put the wheels in motion for the bond refunding, which, at that time, was estimated to save district taxpayers roughly $1.67 million. The district planned to sell roughly $32.65 million in bonds to refund bonds issued in 2007 as part of Lindbergh’s Proposition R 2006 bond issue.

The Feb. 11 sale generated 14 bids for the Aa1 bonds.

That night, the Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt a resolution approving the sale of the bonds to Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. of Milwaukee, Wis. Robert W. Baird & Co.’s true interest cost — a combined measure of the interest and underwriting fees — of 2.741089 percent was the lowest of 14 bids submitted.

The savings to district taxpayers totals $3,503,832 — more than $1.8 million over the original estimate of $1.67 million. The district’s taxpayers are the sole beneficiaries of the savings because the $3.5 million will not be collected from them, and the district’s debt-service tax rate is set to collect only the revenue necessary to retire the bonds.

Chief Financial Officer Charles Triplett noted that last week’s bond refunding is the eighth the district has done since 1998, saving taxpayers a total of $8,819,568.

Of those eight refundings, Triplett said, “… We’ve refunded almost $87 million of principal …We have saved taxpayers more than $8.8 million in interest off of this. That’s more than a 10-percent savings from the principal on the bonds that were issued. Again, we’re happy to do that anytime we possibly can and get the best value for the taxpayers …”

And last week’s bond refunding savings is on top of the $32 million the district saved taxpayers from 1995 to 2005 by voluntarily rolling back the district’s tax rate. That’s a combined savings to district taxpayers of roughly $40.8 million.

Like we said: Wow — just wow.