Berryville School Board agrees to refinance bonds

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

By Samantha Jones

The Berryville School District voted Monday, Aug. 26, to refinance its bonds.

Superintendent Owen Powell said the district has $27 million spread across four different bonds. The bonds have separate interest rates, Powell said, but they will be refinanced together for a much lower rate. Powell said the move should save the district up to $1.5 million over the life of the bond.

“Interest rates are extremely low right now,” Powell said. “They’re near record lows, and it’s just a great time to sell bonds if you have that opportunity. It’s really a no-brainer.”

One of the bonds totaling $14 million has an interest rate of 5.2 percent. Powell said that bond could be refinanced at 3.6 percent or lower.

“Any time you can save that kind of money, it’s just something you need to do,” Powell said. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved: our students, our faculty, our administration and our community.”

Also at the meeting, the board unanimously voted to purchase 150 Chromebooks and 50 tablets for the elementary school, totaling $42,000. Board member Travis Gregory then moved to purchase 230 Chromebooks for the intermediate school, totaling $65,000, and the board unanimously agreed to do so.

“Our goal on the Chromebooks is we want our entire school district to be one-to-one –– that means we have a Chromebook for every students in our school district,” Powell said. “Right now, we’re at one-to-one at the high school and middle school. With this purchase, we’ll be one-to-one at the intermediate school, and we’ll be really close at the elementary school.”

In other business, the board voted to hold the Berryville High School graduation on Sunday, May 10, 2020. The board approved several student transfers for the 2019-20 school years and agreed to purchase a new HVAC unit for the intermediate school library and computer lab.

The board voted to approve the following fundraiser requests: Special Olympics selling staff lunches, T-shirts, barbecue nachos and baked goods; the Migrant Program selling T-shirts; the elementary school selling popcorn, T-shirts and headphones, as well as holding a community-sponsored scholastic book drive and breakfast with Santa event; the high school and middle school choir having a bake sale at the Carroll County Fair; the high school art class face painting at ball games, hosting a craft show and selling coffee and hot cocoa; the high school life skills class selling meals and baked goods; the high school greenhouse purchasing seeds from Parks Bros Seed Co.; the high school FFA selling Blue & Gold products and steer raffle tickets; the high school student council having a color run, powder puff football game, service day and selling class T-shirts and the high school FBLA selling bottled water, Community First Sonic Cards, popcorn, cookie dough and chicken spaghetti dinners, as well as having a shoe drive and a fall festival.

The board moved on to discuss personal, voting to accept the resignations of cafeteria employee Donna Janeway and middle school CBI paraprofessional Becky Stoppel. The board agreed to hire Shirley Drezinski and Elizabeth Broeker as cafeteria substitutes, Marisela Gill and Emma Vance as nurse substitutes, Holly Birchfield as a custodial substitute, Kelly Hawkins as a CBI paraprofessional and Rebel Howard as a bus mechanic and route driver.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, in the intermediate school cafetorium.

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