A bond resolution was adopted at Monday’s Union County School District Board of Trustees meeting.
The resolution — which would allow the district to sell General Obligation Bonds in amounts not to exceed $3,300,000 — was approved by unanimous decision.
The actual amount of bonds sold will be based on principal and interest calculations used to determine payment amount to the Educational Facilities Corporation (EFC).
The school board has the taxing authority to issue General Obligation Bonds for up to 8 percent of the district’s assessed valuation and the bond resolution is the board’s legal authorization to sell bonds to generate funds.
“When the decision was made to build Sims Middle and Jonesville K-8, the district chose to do the same as Greenville and many other districts across the state by forming an Educational Facilities Corporation to finance the construction of the schools,” said Union County School District Financial Officer Lynn Lawson.
The EFC issued approximately $40 million in bonds in December 2006 with money received going into a project account to build the new schools. The EFC was formed with South Carolina Association of Governmental Organizations as a separate legal entity from the district which resulted in the SCAGO EFC paying to build the schools.
The EFC, however, exists strictly for the benefit of Union County Schools.
According to Lawson, the district’s only option in repaying the $40 million in bonds is to make annual payments to the EFC.
“The district’s annual obligation over the 25 year term of the bond is approximately $3 million,” Lawson said. “The best analogy would be to say that our annual mortgage payment is approximately $3 million.”
Lawson stated the district will make payment to the EFC in late summer/early fall and use taxes collected for debt service to repay bonds issued in the spring.
The finance director also said the district has been on the same payment schedule and will continue to repeat that cycle each year for the life of the 2006 bond terms.
School board filings
A reminder about the deadline for school board filings was also on the meeting’s agenda.
Filings close Aug. 16 at noon.
The following seats are open:
• District 3, currently held by Kim Bailey.
• District 4, curently held by Donna Sanders.
• District 5, currently held by Jane Hammett.
• District 8, currently held by school board chair Dr. Wanda All.
• District 9, currently held by John Rampey.
According to the Union County Election Commission — as of Tuesday afternoon — no one has filed for candidacy for any of the open seats.
In other business at Monday’s meeting:
• Dale Goff addressed concerns regarding reduction of teaching assistants through budget cuts, the reassignment of assistants and how these changes impact special needs classes.
“While some of the assistants’ faces have had to change, there has been no change in the ratio of students to teachers for our special classes,” Goff said. “These assistants have a vast amount of experience and understand the need to develop relationships early with these children to build emotional security.”
There are currently 13 special needs classes: Five elementary, four at Sims and four at Union County High School. The teacher/student ratio in these classes ranges from 1:2 to 1:3 on the elementary level, depending on the specific needs of the student group. At middle and high school level, the ratio ranges from 1:2 to 1:8, also depending on student needs. Special education assistants this year range from 4-28 years of experience.
• Dr. Suzanne Gunter informed the board of the At Risk Grant Award — and award of $108,940.
Gunter mentioned the Union County School District was one of 10 districts in South Carolina to receive the award, which was applied for by every district in the state.
Gunter attributed the award in part to partnerships created with Union County Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Clemson Extension, Department of Juvenile Justice, Union Mental Health and Union Adult Education.