By Conrad Dudderar
More than $18 million in Yukon Public Schools’ bonds were sold this week as YPS officials move forward with an expansion project.
The YPS Board of Education, at a special meeting March 29, awarded $18,260,000 in general obligation combined purpose bonds to low bidder Robert B. Baird & Co. of Milwaukee, Wisc.
The total includes $17,365,000 in building bonds and $895,000 in transportation bonds.
Baird & Co. offered a 4.74% interest rate, the lowest among five companies submitting bids. The highest was 5.6%.
Bond interest rates have increased noticeably over the past few years.
“Three bond sales ago, we got it at 1.5-1.6%,” YPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said. “That effects the money we have available to do the things we’re trying to do.”
Wednesday’s YPS bond sale was for a second installment of bonds sold from a $194 million bond package resoundingly approved by YPS voters in November 2021.
That bond issue consisted of $189,265,000 in building bonds and $4,995,000 in transportation bonds.
Some $13,810,000 in building bonds and $190,000 in transportation bonds were previously sold.
The building bond funds will be used for an estimated $70-$75 million project at Yukon High School that will feature a new performing arts center, college and career center, indoor activity facility, and an expanded commons area.
YPS officials will secure a lease revenue note to provide funds “up-front” so the contract for the YHS construction project can start as soon as possible, Simeroth explained.
“I’m cautiously optimistic about a September ground-breaking,” he said.
Manhattan Construction Co. is being hired as construction manager to oversee development of the YHS campus addition. The estimated project timeline is 30 months.
Other projects funded by the YPS building bonds include school renovations and furnishings, new playground equipment, monument signs, synthetic athletic field turf, technology improvements, and curriculum upgrades.
“We’ll be hitting almost every part of our district while will continue to forward to pay for the (YHS) construction,” Simeroth noted.
Meanwhile, the transportation bonds will be used to fund new Yukon school busses and maintenance equipment at the YPS transportation facility.
The Yukon school district’s current 10-year bond issue has not raised property taxes because new bond debt is being added as previous bonds are retired.
THIS AND THAT …
In other business at their March 29th special meeting, YPS Board members approved:
- Accepting a settlement in a class-action lawsuit alleging damage to young consumers by addictive products manufactured and sold by the JUUL electronic cigarette company.
- Employment of S.H. McDonald & Associates, Inc. as the school district’s financial consultant.
- Hiring Mark Lebsack as the school district’s new chief operating officer (effective May 31) and Shila Dobbins as Independence Intermediate School’s next assistant principal (effective July 1).