Members of the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education on Thursday approved the refinancing of $9.04 million in bonds that were part of the $143 million bond election passed by Unified School District 501 patrons in 2014.
“The bond market stayed very favorable to move forward,” Gary Menke, USD 501’s director of fiscal services, told board members.
Greg Vahrenberg, of Piper Jaffray, said the district’s AA bond rating allowed USD 501 to qualify for a 2.24 percent interest rate on the refinancing of the bonds for a total savings of $530,050.
Vahrenburg said the savings is in the district’s bond and interest fund and doesn’t impact the operational funds for the district. He said a total of $6,790,885 has been saved from the 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2017 bond refinancing.
“That’s a lot of money that stays in the district instead being paid out to bond investors,” he told board members, adding that an additional estimated $497,000 in savings could be realized if the board refinances less than $10 million in bonds in 2018.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for taxpayers,” board vice president Nancy Kirk said.
During the board’s Oct. 19 meeting, Aaron Kipp, district director of demographics and assessments, told board members preliminary data showed 776 students graduated this year from the district’s five high schools.
Kipp said the four-year graduation rate was 76.6 percent compared to 73 percent in 2016. He said the preliminary five-year graduation rate also increased over the year from 74.6 percent to 80 percent.
According to revised data superintendent Tiffany Anderson presented to board members on Thursday, the final four-year average graduation rate increased to 77.2 percent, while the final five-year average rate decreased slightly to 79.8 percent.
The final four-year graduation rate increased a total of 4.2 percent, while the five-year average increased a total 5.2 percent.
The final number of graduates increased by four from the preliminary number of 776 to a final of 780.
Contact reporter Angela Deines at (785) 295-1143 or @AngelaDeines on Twitter.