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Refunded bonds to save WF taxpayers $2 million

On Monday, the West Fargo School board unanimously approved a move to award bids for the advanced refunding of bonds.

Myron Knutson, Managing Director for Public Financial Management in Fargo, said the lowest bid taken would save West Fargo residents approximately $345,000 per year for the remainder of the bonds.

Or to put it in perspective, "it is a savings of $2 million to the West Fargo taxpayers," said Joe Sykora, Business Manager for the West Fargo School District.

The lowest bid for the bonds came from the Chicago-based firm, Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co., with a true interest rate of 1.9001 percent. Subsequent to the bid opening, the bid price was increased, which resulted in an actual TIR of 1.8990 percent.

In layman's terms: "The district sold bonds a few years ago for $10 million at 4 percent interest," Sykora said. "Because the interest rates are lower today, and with bonds you can pay them off ahead of time, we went out and sold some bonds at a lower interest rate."

With a total savings of $2,076,000, the district also would levy two fewer mills. The effect isn't immediate, however; savings will not begin until the 2011-12 school year.

Odds and ends

• Jennifer Sickels, a second-grade teacher at Westside Elementary School, was granted an extended leave request beginning Aug. 26. Sickels will not return until the 2011-12 school year. Westside principal Beth Slette wrote in the request that she was "confident" a highly qualified teacher could be found as Sickels' replacement.