The Riverside District 96 school board on Sept. 20 is expected discuss taking out a $10 million bank loan to help fund major life-safety and other improvements at all five of its schools. The improvements would be made to the schools during the summers of 2012 and 2013.

Superintendent Jonathan Lamberson said last week that the school board will likely seek to issue the debt before the end of 2011 in order to take advantage of low interest rates.

“The reality is that if we want to have a bank-qualified loan and we’re limited to $10 million and no one knows where [interest rates] will go … that we may have an opportunity to do it some time before the end of the calendar year to take advantage of these historically low rates,” he said.

Lamberson said the district will seek a AAA bond rating in order to qualify for interest rates that could be as low as 2.2 to 2.7 percent.

District 96’s board finance committee met Sept. 7 to discuss possible funding options for the project, which is projected to cost $24.5 million. The finance committee is expected to recommend issuing $10 million in bonds to be paid off over 10 years.

The remainder of the cost of construction would be funded using the district’s substantial cash reserve. At the end of the 2009-10 school year, the district had cash reserves of $24.9 million, according to financial documents provided by District 96.

That figure was expected to increase during the 2010-11 school year; audited numbers for that school year are not yet available.

For a full report see the Sept. 14 edition of the Landmark.

School plans

To view these documents you might need the free .pdf reader from Adobe. You can download it by clicking here.