Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Selling Bonds

Following voter approval, the district must "package" the bonds for sale to investors. Many organizations and professionals are involved from bond attorney and securities brokers to underwriters, local elected officials and our school board. The district has been working with Cynthia Weed, an attorney who specializes in bond measures for schools. The district has also been working with an underwriter: Ryan Swanson of Piper, Jaffray and Co. These people have contributed an enormous amount of time and expertise over the past four years helping the district prepare bond measures for the ballot and explaining a very complicated market.

As of this writing, we are working to package bonds for sale to investors and to have them underwritten by Moody's. The underwriting is critical for keeping our interest costs low (a higher rating translates to less risk for investors and lower interest rates). We're also evaluating proposed board resolutions that will allow sale of the bonds within certain parameters. All of this involves coordination with the Lewis County Treasurer and Assessor.

These resolutions will be completed and acted upon by the board on November 19. Later, the district will present the plan to Moody's for underwriting. We're aiming for bond sale on December 12 with funds from the sale to be deposited with the Lewis County Treasurer by December 27.

By selling before the beginning of 2019, we lock in interest rates at historically low levels (estimated at 3.63%). We also save the taxpayers an estimated $500,000 over the 21 year term of the bond.

This is an aggressive timeline and requires everyone involved to work together and quickly. In the long run, it will save taxpayers money and position the district to begin the design process quickly.