The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 18, 2013

Carthage School District expects to save $3 million by refinancing bonds

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Carthage School Board on Monday put into motion a bond sale that is expected to save the school district about $3 million.

The board approved a resolution authorizing the sale of about $24 million in bonds remaining from a $30 million bond issue approved in 2006 to finance construction of the new high school.

Greg Bricker, with George K. Baum and Co., of Kansas City, met with the board to recommend the sale. He said his firm has been monitoring the bonds, as a candidate for refunding, for some time.

“We think interest rates have reached the point where it’s time for the district to capitalize on the savings,” he said.

The board’s action authorizes the firm to offer the bonds for sale, he said, with final action to come at the April meeting.

Also during the meeting, board members were told that the district’s dropout rate had declined to 2.6 percent. Leigh Coleman, director of the district’s Virtual Learning Center, said the rate was down from 4.2 percent a year ago and from 5.1 percent in the 2008-09 school year.

“That’s something to celebrate,” she said.

The districtwide attendance rate is at 95.6 percent, compared with 95.1 percent a year ago. Coleman also cited increases in the number of students attending summer school, and participating in before-school or after-school tutoring sessions and study skills classes.

The board approved a school calendar for the 2013-14 school year. There were no comments during a public hearing, but Deborah Swarens, assistant superintendent for instruction, said she had received a number of recommendations from the district staff and parents in response to calendar options that had been posted on the district’s website.

The calendar calls for the school year to start on Aug. 15 and end on May 21. It would include an extended Christmas holiday from Dec. 20 to Jan. 3.

“We recommend that as the best option for the most people,” Swarens said.

“Do the Right Thing” awards were presented to Milt Wick, assistant high school principal; Heather Booker, high school secretary; and Dana Cook, district nurse coordinator, for their efforts in helping a student who experienced a heart problem at the high school on Jan. 30.

The board, meeting at Steadley Elementary School, heard a report on the performance of students there by Tom Barlow, school principal.



Purchases

THE SCHOOL BOARD approved the purchase of two buses, an 83-passenger vehicle from Central States Bus Sales at a cost of $94,265, and a 29-passenger vehicle from Southern Bus and Mobility for $59,796. The board approved the purchase of a modular classroom from Classroom Inc. at a cost of $81,223.

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