Mehlville board approves COPs refunding

The Mehlville Board of Education approved a resolution last week refunding 2002 bond-like certificates that will save nearly $3 million due to better interest rates.

Board members voted unanimously Feb. 15 to approve the sale of roughly $3.95 million worth of certificates of participation, or COPs, to refund COPs issued in 2002 to fund the Proposition P districtwide building-improvement program.

L.J. Hart & Co. is the underwriter for the COPs refunding.

The $8.54 million of outstanding COPs are callable on Sept. 1. They will be refunded by selling the $3.95 million of COPs and utilizing a reserve fund totaling more than $4.68 million, according to Chief Financial Officer Noel Knobloch.

“We will use about $4.7 (million) from the reserve fund, and refund basically $3.9 million … We actually have locked in rate of 2.5 percent, which is half of what we are currently paying,” Knobloch told board members.

COPs issued in 2001 by the district were refunded in 2010 with a savings of roughly $2.2 million over 10 years and COPs issued in 2002 were refunded last year with a long-term savings of nearly $1.2 million.

The school district is anticipating a total savings of nearly $6.3 million from the three refundings.

The savings will be used to fund the construction of a districtwide auditorium and renovations to the Witzel Learning Center.

The Board of Education recently voted to approve an architectural contract and time line for the auditorium, which is slated to be completed in August 2013.

Knobloch also presented the board a proposed resolution regarding a tax-exempt financing compliance procedure for the COPs refunding.

Final approval of the measure, designed to document compliance with federal tax regulations to maintain the tax-exempt status of the COPs, will be considered by the board on March 15.