McCaskey

When: School District of Lancaster school board meeting, Oct. 14.

What happened: The board heard from financial advisors RBC about the impact of planned bond financing to continue major renovations to district schools.

Why it’s important: The proposed $24 million bond deal would add $1.5 million in debt service to the district’s annual $12 million debt tab. The amount of this phase two financing is expected to require an additional tax increase of .25 mills.

Background: At the conclusion of the four-phase project, the district will have invested almost a quarter of a billion dollars over 13 years on major renovations of all its school properties. It is expected to finish paying off the bonds for financing by 2035. Since the project began, state reimbursement for school construction projects has been frozen. However, the district expects partial reimbursement should the funding be reinstated. Work presently continues at Wickersham and Buchanan elementary schools, as well as Lincoln and Reynolds middle schools.

Pandemic costs: To date the district has spent $2.9 million on additional expenses due to COVID-19, officials reported. This spending included a $2 million cost to convert a lease of iPads into a sale. About 74% of the total amount has come from grants. By the end of the current school year, the district expects to have spent about $7 million on pandemic-related expenses, with more than half covered by grants.

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