Belton ISD

Belton ISD trustees unanimously approved an order authorizing bond refinancing, and approved the hire of a new campus administrator during its regular school board meeting on Monday.

Jennifer Ritter, a financial advisor for Belton ISD, said her company, Specialized Public Finance Inc., estimates that approximately $3.4 million could be saved by taking action through bond refinancing in the next few months.

“As we did last year … we looked at what your existing bond debt is to see if there is any opportunity to refinance for savings,” she said during the meeting. “This is one of those opportunities.”

Belton ISD currently has $20.2 million outstanding from its Series 2012 bond and Series 2013 refunding bond, according to Specialized Public Finance Inc.

“Interest rates are a lot lower today than they were 10 years ago,” Ritter said. “The savings are being generated by taking the 3-3.6 percent interest rates that you’re currently paying and replacing those with a 1.9 percent current-market interest rate.”

The district’s financial advisor is hoping that the bonds can be sold in the first week of December — a timeline that is contingent on where interest rates in the market land at that time.

“This is a good news situation,” Ritter said. “As interest rates move, (the district) will be able to save money and let the community know that you’re doing what you can to keep that tax rate in check.”

She added how there are four parameters within this bond order: pricing officers will be the chief financial officer and superintendent, the aggregate original principal amount of the bonds can’t exceed $20,190,000, the refunding must produce net present value savings no less than 3 percent and the final maturity of the bonds should not exceed Feb. 15, 2039.

During the meeting, Ty Taggart, vice president for the Belton ISD school board, expressed his gratitude with the effort made to save the district money.

“Jennifer … I’m always happy when I see your name on the agenda, because I know it means we’re going to save some money,” he said. “Thank you so much for what you do for us and for watching the taxpayers back,” he said.

Administrative hire

During the meeting on Monday, trustees also unanimously approved Jennifer Holmes as Lake Belton Middle School’s next assistant principal.

Holmes — who earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University — has seven years of experience as an educator.

She served three school districts during that time: Killeen ISD, Temple ISD and Belton ISD.

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