On Monday, May 11, the West Fargo School Board agreed to take advantage of historically low interest rates and sell its bonds, effectively saving school district taxpayers millions.
The board sold two rounds of bonds on Monday, the first was its building bonds. While voters approved a $106.9 million bond referendum in 2018 to build a third high school and middle school among other construction updates, the district will only need to use about $102.5 million in total authorized debt, leaving $4.4 million in unsold debt for the overall referendum.
"It's a good day for West Fargo (schools) taxpayers," Business Manager Levi Bachmeier said.
Bachmeier said right now, the district is not projected to spend those additional construction bonds but with the current COVID-19 pandemic, the district will wait to decide what to do with the savings to ensure construction costs do not rise unexpectedly.
"The school board could choose to issue some of that 4.4 million savings back to the taxpayers," he said. "We're optimistic we won't have to use that remaining $4.4 million."
The district was then able to sell additional bonds with plans to pay off its special assessments early. By doing, so the district will save about $2.91 million in taxpayer money.
"By reissuing new debt at a lower interest rate we are able to save substantial taxpayer dollars," Bachmeier said. "We will pay off the total costs of those special assessments much sooner. It's just by changing essentially who our banker is."
However, additional special assessments will coming down the road with improvements around Heritage Middle School and Horace Middle School in as soon as a year from now.
"Not a bad way to end your first year, Levi, by saving the taxpayers a bunch of money," Board President Patti Stedman said.