Dist. 88 sells bonds

NEW ULM – The District 88 Board of Education Thursday approved the sale of $680,000 worth of bonds to fund parking lot upgrades.

The district’s financial consultants, Springsted Inc., solicited bids for the bond sale on behalf of the district.

“We are pleased to inform you that the district experienced a good sale,” said Springsted Vice President Patty Heminover.

Four bidders offered rates ranging from 3.2919 percent to 4.3972 percent for the 14-year bond issue. Northland securities was the winning bidder.

The first payment on the bonds will be Feb. 1, 2015, with the money coming from the 2013/14 tax levy.

The bond will be repaid in 2028, with a potential refinance date in 2023 (if interest rates make it desirable to refinance).

The bond issue will raise taxes on a $100,000 home by approximately $3 a year, Heminover recapped upon request. In another example, taxes on a $250,000 home would go up by about $9 a year. An farm site with an “average” home and the first 80 acres of land will see a tax increase of about $13 a year.

The bond sale was approved 6-1. Board member Sharon Gieseke voted against it, saying she would not vote for a tax increase.

As part of a study session that followed the bond sale resolution, the board discussed several matters with the new superintendent, Jeff Bertrang:

Bertrang recapped districtwide goals set last year, discussing the program for their delivery, measurements and results.

He said he believes the district should keep working on accomplishing these goals, rather than changing them, and the board agreed by consensus. (No formal action is taken during study sessions.)

Bertrang discussed potential team-building and strategic-planning activities that the board could undertake. He listed three potential vendors that could facilitates this process.

The board agreed by consensus to continue to explore possibilities offered by a program from Big River Group Consulting. The potential costs cited was about $6,810.

The board considered a list of potential topics for future study sessions.

These topics included, but were not limited to, an idea Bertrang implemented at his former school (GFW): town hall meetings to engage the public.

The board agreed by consensus to continue with the format of alternating regular (action-taking) meetings with study sessions (discussion-only meetings).

(This format was first experimented with during the past year.)

The board then directed Bertrang to work with the board’s policy committee to change policy language to reflect the new format.

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