South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Lindbergh issues $40 million in bonds for bond issue for its new high school


By Gloria Lloyd
News Editor

Lindbergh Schools will soon have half of its $105 million bond issue for a new high school in hand after a $40 million bond sale last week.

The bonds are part of Proposition R, the district’s bond issue voters approved in April that will build a new, more modern Lindbergh High School and secure vestibules at several schools.

Chief Financial Officer Joël Cracchiolo was expecting the competitive underwriting bids to come back with good rates: “We’re expecting premium on our bonds.”

The bond sale happened in two parts June 13, although the district won’t get the money in the bank until June 26.

The new bonds saw seven bidders in the morning and a refunding of $9 million in older 2010 bonds in the afternoon got two bids. That refinancing is expected to save the district $700,000 in interest. The older bonds are “Build America” bonds the district took out under the stimulus package during the Great Recession, for which the federal government gives the district a rebate each year.

“The refund is we’re paying off these bonds at higher rates,” Director of Accounting Kathy Wood said at the June meeting of the Finance Committee.

Fees are lower for the two bond sales since the district is coupling them with its bond counsel, Gilmore Bell.

After a bond rating call with Moody’s, the district kept its AA1 bond rating, which is “top of the line for a school district,” Cracchiolo said.

Cracchiolo told the finance panel that if the district got better rates than expected, “Dr. Lake might scream,” referring to Superintendent Tony Lake.

But although the district will have a huge influx of money into its bank accounts, the money will all be accounted for and spent as the process toward the new high school advances, Cracchiolo said.

The district has to keep a list of everything it spends under the bond issue.

“I submit a lot of paperwork,” the CFO said. “There’s some very important records that have to be kept. Bond records are permanent, forever.”

To oversee the massive construction project, the district hired Tom Parker to oversee everything.

Executive Director of Planning and Development Karl Guyer, who typically oversees construction and facilities in the district for the last 20 years, will be retiring this year.

But he said Parker is well equipped to oversee the bond issue and the high-school construction.

He can tell that Parker knows what he’s doing because “we passed along little confidences” about industry secrets, Guyer said, and “you can tell this is not his first rodeo.”

And Parker will ensure that money is being spent the way it should be.

“Part of the purpose of Tom being there is because he will verify through his daily activities at the site what the activities are,” Guyer said. “We do check that, because we’re going to protect our assets as well.”

“He’s our internal auditor, the architect serves that purpose as well,” Cracchiolo said. “And who is the ultimate critic about things getting done? Our taxpayers.”

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