The Norman Transcript

February 12, 2013

Low-interest bonds continue

By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Words like “stunning” and “outstanding” were used at Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting by Chris Cochran of Capital BOSC Inc. to describe the district’s financial standing.

Cochran, the board’s bond advisor, presented good news concerning the Series 2013 portion of the 2009 Bond Issue, announcing that NPS’ high credit rating of AA2 had once again earned the district a very low interest rate.

Minneapolis firm Piper Jaffray, which saved taxpayers an estimated $2 million through its low interest rate on the previous bond series in March 2012, was again awarded transaction.

“History has repeated itself,” Cochran said. “If you notice, last year’s interest on a $23 million bond was 0.895 percent. This year is 0.893 percent, which is remarkable.”

Examining all four bond sales now paid, totaling approximately $81 million, NPS’ average interest rate on the sales has been about 1.2 percent, meaning the vast majority of tax dollars used to repay the bonds will directly fund the projects themselves and not repayment.

“Sometimes it doesn’t go this well, and when it does, you have to be happy,” Cochran said.

Good news also came to the board concerning the final project of the 2009 Bond Issue series, the Administrative Services Center, which raised serious concerns when the construction portion of the project weighed in nearly $500,000 over budget.

Bids for phase III of the project, encompassing the interior finish for both the new building and the remodeled existing building, came in about $100,000 less than expected.

“As a result of this bid and other savings, we’re actually now below budget on the entire project,” said Gary Clark of CMS Willowbrook. “After the one piece came in high, we worked hard on it, and it’s nice to have a little breathing room with things that come up.”

Additionally, Clark reported that the project is still on schedule for completion in mid-December, with Assistant Superintendent Roger Brown projecting that all Center staff will be in their appropriate locations at the return of Christmas break.

The board also discussed and passed a resolution authored by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association requesting two more years to implement the state’s Teacher Leader Evaluation reform.

“We believe in this reform effort, and I want to make very clear that we feel the adoption of the TLE is a positive step forward and will make a difference in our classrooms,” Superintendent Joe Siano said.

“We have a point of disagreement, and I will always say any reform is only as good as the effectiveness of implementation. It is a belief of educators across the state that TLE needs a little more time for implementation than is currently expected,” Siano said. “We’re asking in this resolution to be adopted by the board for two-year delay.

“We believe that for the quantitative piece to be fair and understood by teachers, and for the equitable treatment of teachers on the assessment side of this evaluation, we need more time to implement this reform.”

Additional items addressed: Assistant Superintendent Shirley Simmons made a presentation on the new Third-Grade Retention Law, and NPS Health Services Coordinator Cindi Miller presented a district Health Services Report.

Gay Smith, of Madison Elementary School, was named AMBUCS Special Education teacher of the year.

The following Sodexo personnel were recognized for outstanding service during the first semester of the 2012-2013 school year:

Child Nutrition Employees of the Month were:

· September — Delores Proctoe, Norman High School

· October: Gary Wullich, Driver

· November — Sharon Cryer, Longfellow Middle School

· December — Lucretia Bradley, Carolyn Byrd, Rosina Faught and Tosha Johnson, Reagan Elementary Crew

Custodial Associates of the Month were:

· September — Lacy Hill and John Shea

· October — Larry Young and James Hendrickson

· November — Bea Martinez and William Bardgett

· December — Aguada Barrios and Shane Combs

· January (2013) — Robert Espinoza and Robert Decker

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