At a time when schools throughout Portage County, like those throughout the state, continue to face financial challenges, a school district that is able to save taxpayers $1 million is to be commended.
Hats off to the Ravenna School District, which has done exactly that because it was able to refinance about $12 million in debt incurred in the construction of the new Ravenna High School on North Chestnut Street.
School officials traveled to Chicago to meet with Moody's Investor Service, where they made the case for establishing a credit rating for the district rather than using state rates. Doing so would enable the district to get a lower interest rate on its outstanding debt for the high school project. Obtaining its own bond rating guaranteed a minimal savings of $100,000.
The Ravenna contingent presented Moody's with evidence of the district's sound financial footing. The result was an A2 bond rating for the district, which enabled Ravenna to refinance its debt at a lower rate, the net result being a saving of $1.05 million.
The district re-funded $6.5 million in bonds in 2012, with the remaining $5 million re-funded this month. The total interest savings over the life of the bond issue will amount to $663,000 for the first bond transaction and another $388,000 for the second.
The 2006 bond issue that voters approved ensured that young people in the community would attend a modern new facility that will meet the needs of Ravenna for generations to come. The deal that school officials reached as a result of their trip to Chicago will result in significant savings for the taxpayers of the district. That's definitely a win-win proposition.