Hilliard Northwest News

District: Bond refinancing saved about $74 million

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Hilliard school board members say they saved taxpayers a little money by refinancing about $74 million in previously issued bonds.

The board on Jan. 14 refinanced $21.5 million in bonds issued in 2005 and $52.6 million issued in 2006.

Refinancing the bonds equals about 0.5-mill of tax revenue and will save local taxpayers about $31 annually per $200,000 of assessed property value, Treasurer Brian Wilson said.

The refinancing will reduce the bonds' effective millage rate in 2014 from 7.35 mills to 7.1 mills, an amount that should remain about the same through 2019.

Without the refinancing, the effective millage would have been between 7.4 and 7.5 mills.

"December finance rates were at historical lows," said Wilson, adding that the rates since then had "started to move against (the district)."

Wilson said districts should net at least a 5 percent return before investing the effort to refinance. He said Hilliard met that benchmark.

In other action at the Jan. 14 board meeting at Washington Elementary School, Superintendent Dale McVey recognized the district's three newest "Master Teachers."

Forty-nine teachers have completed the Master Teachers program since it was instituted in January 2011.

Kimberly Dixon, a teacher at Hoffman Trails Elementary School; Joe Ross, a teacher at Heritage Middle School; and Janet Monseur-Durr, a teacher at Bradley and Davidson high schools, were recognized.

"We have incredible teachers in our system and these are three of our finest ... the drive to serve our students (is) on full display everywhere in our district and exemplified by these teachers," McVey said.

Board members also approved a consent agenda including numerous supplemental salaries and stipends, unpaid leaves of absences, student trip requests, resignations and one retirement: David Whitt, a social studies teacher at Bradley High School, effective May 31, after 13 years at Hilliard and 30 in public education.

Board Vice President Lisa Whiting reported on the progress of the district's superintendent search process.

Whiting encouraged residents to participate in an online survey on the district's website, hilliardschools.org, concerning criteria for the new superintendent to replace the retiring McVey.

The link will close after Jan. 22.

Whiting said the board will interview candidates in February and intends to name McVey's successor at the first board meeting in March, currently scheduled for March 11 at Hilliard Tharp Sixth Grade School.

Board president Andy Teater said members have met with several candidates the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio recommended.

The district contracted with the Educational Service Center to assist the district in the search for the new superintendent.

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