Berryville board OKs bond sale for ‘huge savings’

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

By Samantha Jones

The Berryville School District is on track to save more than $450,000 after the school board voted Monday, Dec. 14, to sell a $2.6 million bond.

Board member Chad Wilson moved to adopt a resolution authorizing the issuance and delivery of the bond slated for Jan. 1, 2021, and the board unanimously agreed to do so. Superintendent Owen Powell said the bond sale was a “really big deal for us,” adding the bond was previously financed at 2.5 percent and the board sold it for 1.12 percent.

“So we’ll end up saving the school district $466,000 over the life of that bond,” Powell said. “That’s huge savings. It’s a significant amount. Interest rates right now are just incredible. If you think about that for a second, 1 percent interest rate … that’s pretty amazing.”

Powell added, “Moving forward, if interest rates stay as low as they are right now, we’ll probably sell more bonds. It’s just being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

Also at the meeting, the board heard from Powell about the solar project. Powell said the district is still in contract negotiations to ensure everything is up to par.

“I do think we’ll start moving pretty quickly on that after the first of the year,” Powell said. “We’re getting close to being where we want to be and then we’ll actually start seeing some things happen there.”

Powell said he’s excited about the savings the project promises.

“We’re going to save a lot of money a year on it and, of course, we’re going green,” Powell said.

In other business, the board agreed to increase substitute pay to $82.50 per day. The pay had previously been $75 per day, Powell said, but that rate didn’t meet the state’s minimum wage increase.

“So we had to increase that to $82.50 and that gets us up to over $11 an hour,” Powell said.

Powell updated the board on the district’s attendance, saying attendance as of Dec. 7 was 1,828 students, which is down by 25 students from last year.

The board also agreed to hire Mitch Vaught as a maintenance employee.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11, at the Board Room.

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