Used cautiously and appropriately, bonded debt is the right tool for local government to use when it comes to funding long-term upgrades and repairs to its facilities. This would be the case with the decision this month by the Riverside-Brookfield High School board to borrow $6.4 million to pay for life safety upgrades. 

Some of that essential work — a partial replacement of the school’s roof and new bleachers — is under way this summer. The remaining $2.4 million will be spent on projects next summer.

The district will also refinance some long-term debt that it took on nearly a decade ago for its major expansion and renovation of RB. That action will reduce interest from a level of about 5 percent to today’s historically low margin.

These actions come in concert with the welcome news that District 208 had its overall bond rating hiked last week by Standard & Poor’s. The district’s bonding advisor reported the rating agency credited the district with having strong financial reserves and good cost controls in place.