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Lower interest rate to save Fruitport schools taxpayers

Krystle Wagner • Feb 10, 2017 at 3:00 PM

FRUITPORT — Through planning and the successful sale of bonds, taxpayers in the Fruitport school district are expected to save a combined $1.9 million in interest payments throughout the life of the issued bonds, officials say.

Fruitport Community Schools recently sold the first portion of the 2017 school building and site bonds and refunding bonds for $20.89 million at a combined interest rate of 3.78 percent. The bonds will mature in 2046.

Last spring, the district anticipated the bonds would be sold at an average interest rate of 4.75 percent.

Superintendent Bob Szymoniak said the current political climate might have affected interest rates.

Although voters in November 2016 approved bond proposals that will generate a little more than $51 million, the district split the bonds into two series — $20 million now and $30 million down the road — since the district doesn’t need all the money at once.

“We are selling the bonds in two series to save taxpayers from paying a year’s worth of interest on the $30 million,” Szymoniak explained.

Currently, the district is in the design phase and the remaining funds won’t be needed until construction and other projects roll out.

As part of a financial evaluation, the district received an “A3” rating, with a “stable outlook,” from Moody’s Investors Service. According to a press release, “the rating agency cited the school district’s moderately sized, stable tax with average socioeconomic characteristic and cost control in their rationale” for the rating.

“Fruitport Community Schools’ bonds were well received by the bond market, as 100 percent of the bonds were spoken for during the initial order period,” Stifel Managing Director Jeffrey Zylstra said in a press release. “We were able to take advantage of current low rates that met the goals of the district.”

The building and site bond funds will be used for projects such as remodeling the high school, furnishing the building, buying buses and improving tennis courts.

“I know the community will be very pleased with our high school upon its completion sometime during the 2019-20 school year,” Szymoniak said.

 

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