Refinancing Leads to Big Savings
An Internet bond auction on Wednesday morning has led to big savings for the , according to Jamie Doyle, of Public Financial Management—the district's financial adviser regarding debt.
Doyle spoke at Wednesday night's B-W School Board meeting to reveal that Bank of New York Mellon Capital Markets had won that morning's auction to refinance a general obligation bond that the school board issued in 2005. BNY Mellon's winning interest rate bid was approximately 1.54 percent on $4,945,000, with no bond insurance required due to Baldwin-Whitehall's, as Doyle puts it, "excellent credit rating." Moody's Investors Service has assigned B-W an Aa3 credit rating, which Doyle said is above average for a school district.
Doyle said that BNY Mellon's rate will equate to $339,376.58 in savings for Baldwin-Whitehall from its previous interest rate, with the bulk of that savings being realized in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
In a , Doyle said that the district could realize savings anywhere from $96,600 to around $250,000 by refinancing, but on Wednesday, she said that market conditions turned out to be even more in Baldwin-Whitehall's favor.
The school board accepted BNY Mellon's rate by a unanimous vote, with board member George L. Pry even playfully applauding.
The board's next chance to refinance this particular bond will be on Sept. 15, 2017, Doyle said.
2012-13 Preliminary District Budget Available to Public
In other financial news, the school board unanimously approved the public release of its preliminary 2012-13 budget.
The budget (available as a PDF in this article's media gallery) has not been finalized and has only been approved for public inspection and comment at this time. A finalization from the school board must occur before June 30.
As it looks now, the budget totals $60,497,684, but, as board President John B. Schmotzer said, "I'm sure there will be changes between now and June 30."
The budget calls for a district millage rate of 24.48 mills, which represents an increase from 2011-12 of 1.08 mills.
A 24.48 millage rate equates to $2,448 per year for anyone with a property valued at $100,000 (land and building value combined). (Click here to calculate your individual taxes.)
Property reassessments for 2013 will not affect Baldwin-Whitehall until its 2013-14 school year budget.
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Online Registration Approved
The board also voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a three-year contract with SRC Solutions, Inc., of Dunmore, PA, at a cost of $20,346.75 for the first year and $14,768.50 each for the second and third years.
The agreement will allow the district to utilize paperless options for enrolling children in its grade levels and in its particular courses.
"I am not voting for this because I think it is a huge cost savings," board member Nancy Sciulli DiNardo said. "I'm voting for this because it's going to make things easier for parents as well as for this school district.
"Sometimes, it's not necessarily how much we're saving but the luxury of having everything easily accessible and easy for our parents—the convenience."
Read more about the district's .
'Imagine Learning' Proposal Approved
The board voted, 7-2, on Wednesday to approve a three-year contract with Utah-based Imagine Learning to address English-reading deficiencies in Baldwin-Whitehall among special education students, English-as-a-second-language students and low-performing readers.
Schmotzer and Pry dissented due to a desire to pay for the contract in yearly segments rather than all at once.
"I'm just not comfortable with the payment structure," Schmotzer said.
The total cost of the agreement is $116,000, which the district will pay for with state contingency funds.
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AP Test Costs Covered for Just This Year
The board voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve paying for one Advanced Placement (AP) entrance exam per district student for the 2011-12 school year but only for scores of 3 or higher.
Shortly later, the board voted unanimously to cease paying for AP entrance exams after this school year.
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The B-W School Board recognized a number of district students on Wednesday for their recent accomplishments.
- Honored for participating in a Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair were Jennifer Popovski, Alexandria Marx, Mark Kelley, Madison Huber and Sara Isaacs.
- Honored for outstanding performance in a Civil War videoconference were Harrison Solenday and Morgan Schaming.
- Honored for winning an Amateur Athletic Union Pennsylvania championship in roller hockey at the Varsity 1 Division level were Kaleb Reckley, Matthew Metzler, Zachary Alaimo, Christopher Kaercher, Bailey Kavanaugh, Jesse Powell, Anthony Alaimo, Tyler Grant and Matthew Doyle.
- Honored for placing second in a Euro Challenge competition were Ryan Romack, Maura Kay, Dennis Doyle and Mark Demore.
- Honored for placing second in their region at a Junior Achievement Titan Challenge competition were Logan Lutz, Nigel Armbruster and Timothy Carr.
- Honored for advancing to the semifinals round of a Hometown High Q contest were Tyler Green, Luke Dowker, Daniel McTiernan and team alternates Callie Corcoran and Steph Pavlick.
- Honored for placing first and third, respectively, at a Carnegie Science Center Science Bowl competition were the teams of Jared Bell, James Luttringer, Nathan Hobson and Joey Shields, and Meghan Bell, Riley Konesky, Avery Greenaway and Elizabeth Pro. Baldwin-Whitehall was the only school district to place two teams in the top three of that event.
- Honored for being selected to the was cross country and track & field coach Rich Wright.
- Honored for placing first in a high school programming competition were Dorian Brown, Jamal Habboushi and Jadyn Jenkins.
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