The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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June 26, 2012

Joplin school board authorizes sale of district bonds

The Joplin Board of Education on Tuesday night authorized the sale of $62 million in bonds to help pay for the rebuilding of the schools destroyed in the 2011 tornado.

The board heard from Gregory Bricker, executive vice president at George K. Baum & Co., the underwriter on the district’s bonds. In April, voters passed the bond issue to go toward $185 million in rebuilding projects.

Bricker said the first bond sale will be conducted in the latter part of July.

The district will offer $35 million of the bonds in July and will release the remaining $27 million in the spring in time for payments on the new construction.

Paul Barr, the district’s chief financial officer, said that by selling the bonds in two segments, the district will save on interest.

Bricker said the district’s bond issue is one of the largest in the state this year, and his company will be working with local brokers to make up to 10 percent of the total bonds available for local investors. In the sale of $57 million in bonds for middle school construction projects in 2007, Bricker said, local investors accounted for about $2.5 million in purchases.

In an update on construction, a representative of Universal Construction, which is performing construction management for the rebuilding of the schools, told the board that the Irving Elementary and Joplin High School sites have tested negatively for lead contamination in the soil.

Dirt work at the East Middle School site may start today, and the bid packages for East Middle School will be brought before the board at its next meeting.

Dawn Sticklen, who was nominated by the board last week to fill a vacancy, was officially seated during the meeting. Sticklen is a freelance writer and co-owner of Sticklen and Crosthwait Law Firm. Her involvement in the Vote Hope campaign, which urged people to vote in favor of the $62 million bond issue in April, was a big factor in the board’s decision to nominate her, president Randy Steele said.

Superintendent C.J. Huff briefed the board on a recent trip to Washington, D.C., where he met with representatives from the United Arab Emirates and Swedish embassies. He also met with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The board also made appointments for the 2012-13 school year. Barr will continue as the board’s treasurer. Patricia Waldo will be the new board secretary, and Terry Grace will be the new records custodian. They will succeed Tiny Bridges, who has served in both of those roles. Bridges is retiring.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for July 24, with a work session at 5:30 p.m. and the regular session at 7 p.m. at the administration building, 3901 E. 32nd St.

Budget OK’d

THE JOPLIN SCHOOL BOARD on Tuesday night approved the district’s 2012-13 budget. It anticipates $155,809,548 in expenditures and projects revenues at $166,982,503.

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