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Bellevue Board of Education Votes to Refinance Bonds

The Bellevue board of education voted last Monday to reissue district bonds at a lower interest rate through its agreement with the Bellevue Independent Schools Finance Cirporation.

The bonds were first issued in 2008 and 2011, and since the interest rates are lower than 3.8 and 4.3 percent, the finance corporation would like to refinance them early next year.

The bonds are used for building projects and renovations within the district. The move is expected to save the district roughly $79,000 in interest payments.

Immediately after the school board meeting, the Bellevue Independent Schools Finance Corporation met briefly to approve the resolution to refinance the bonds.

Measures in both meetings passed unanimously.

Eric Goodman from Barnes, Dennig accounting firm, came to give a report on the financial audit conducted in June of this year.

Goodman specified that since the district had not expended any federal CARES Act money by the end of June, it does not have to include any of it in this year's audit, but it will be on next year's audit.

He told the board that capital assets went up this year, and that the property taxes were also up this year. Revenues cracked the $8 million mark.

Jennifer Pierce, the district's finance director, explained that the district lost a couple of custodians this year, which affected the numbers in the audit. She also said that because the food service was in excess at the last audit, the district decided to make some needed repairs and buy some newer equipment, which was started and then stopped because of the pandemic.

She also said that the district has been utilizing grants, and in some cases, using payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) which has reduced receipts. The district's contingency hovers around 8 percent.

The audit was pronounced clean and Goodman said that the district was in good financial shape. He also praised the efforts of Pierce and her team.  

Superintendent Robb Smith said that the transition to all-virtual schooling has been going as smoothly as they can expect. He said the teachers are working tremendously hard to keep learning going and to make the transition smooth for the students. 

Smith said that he couldn't be prouder of them.

"We are trying to preserve a sense of normalcy in these abnormal times," Smith said of his staff not only switching to virtual, but also getting meals out to feed the children.

Smith said while only a couple of cases of COVID-19 have turned up among the staff since the school shutdown, he has seen quite a few students who just this week have had to be quarantined. He thinks the district was lucky that it didn't have any transmissions of the disease while the school was conducting its hybrid classes. 

-Patricia Scheyer, RCN contributor

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