Ravenna schools, taxpayers to save $1 million

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

The final numbers are in. Ravenna taxpayers will save more than $1 million because of lower interest rates on the bonds to pay for the school district's new high school.

Eric Prall of the school district's investment banking firm, Ross, Sinclaire and Associates, updated the Board of Education Monday on the district's "refunding" project.

Prall accompanied Superintendent Dennis Honkala and Treasurer Phillip Butto on a trip to Chicago to argue the district's case before Moody's Investors Service. Their objectives were to establish the district's own credit rating instead of using the state's rates, and to make that rate as low as possible.

The district received an A2 rating, which allowed the district to "refund," or refinance about $12 million in debt from the district's new high school on North Chestnut Street. Voters approved a bond issue for the school in 2006.

Prall said he had initially anticipated that the district would save $600 to $700 through the project. However, the market, combined with the district's "aggressive plans to turn things around" resulted in a savings of $1.05 million.

Since only $8 million in bonds may be refunded per calendar year, the district sold $6.5 million in bonds in December, and the remaining $5 million in January. The total interest savings over the life of the bonds amount to $663,000 for the first round of the project, and another $388,000 for the second round.

He told the board that simply by getting its own bond rating, the district saved $100,000.

"Also, it's going to mean a savings should the district ever have to go out for debt in the future," he said.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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