New Albany

Voters deserve timely auditor's report on controversial bond swap

To the editor:

It's been several months since it became public that the New Albany-Plain Local School District in 2012 paid more than $6 million in fees to unwind an artificial refinancing deal with European investment company Dexia Credit Local for bonds issued in 2001 and 2002.

While district officials were adamant that the contract with Dexia did not result in any loss to the district, the transactions and related economic consequences have not been adequately explained. According a story in the Sept. 27 edition of ThisWeek New Albany News, the $6 million "dissolution" fee was added to the new bond total, which taxpayers still will pay to retire.

District officials said that they would have the state auditor look into the transactions. To date, while the school board has passed resolutions and policies to assure that this will never happen again, the community has still not received a final, hopefully detailed and independent, report on this issue. The report should indicate whether the transactions were legal and thoroughly analyze and explain all payments made and savings/losses realized.

According to district officials, the delay of the audit was a result of the state auditor's staff being too involved in the ongoing attendance data-rigging issue. Then, they reported, in order to save a little money, that the analysis was going to be included as part of the district's annual audit. The results of both reviews, for what they are worth, wouldn't be available until December at the earliest.

Could this delay be about keeping the transactions and any losses out of the limelight until after the upcoming vote on the bond/levy issue?

The community deserves a complete, detailed independent report on these transactions and deserves it prior to the November election.

Bob Radigan
New Albany

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