The Brandon-Evansville School Board authorized the issuance and sale of general obligation bonds toward the district's upcoming expansion project.

The action was taken at the school board's regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 15.

Matt Rantapaa of Robert W. Baird & Co., which provides financial advice and services, recommended the district follow a two-bond issue scenario, which he said would provide $14.5 million of project proceeds.

"The reason for two issues is there's something called bank qualified rates, where if a bank buys your bonds, they only have to collateralize 20% of their investment," Rantapaa said. "Because of that, your borrowing rate for a bank qualified bond issue is lower compared to a non-bank qualified.

"So by splitting those two up, if you look at principle and interest … you can see it's about $388,000 more efficient to issue two bond issues versus one," he said.

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According to a finance plan review provided by Baird to the school board, the recommendation is for the district's first bond issue to market for pricing in early December, with the bonds closing in mid to late December.

The second bond issue would then be brought to market for pricing in early January, with the bonds closing in early February.

Proceeds of the bonds will be used to finance acquisition and betterment of school sites and facilities including renovation of existing space into classrooms, a new gym, a new career and technical shop, a new community fitness room, new parking lots and a new storage shed at the Brandon school.

At the Evansville school, the bonds will finance safety and security improvements, classroom additions, a gymnasium addition, renovation of existing space to provide more classrooms, a new parent drop-off area and new parking lots.

Earlier this month the school board approved a resolution to sign an amendment between the district and ICS Consulting.

The amendment reads that project funding will be a combination of the voter-approved referendum, capital facility bonds and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds totaling approximately $15,454,490.

According to the schedule established by the amendment, project design will take place from November 2021 through June 2022; bid solicitation/bid opening will take place in the summer of 2022; bid award will take place in late summer through early fall of 2022, construction start will be in the fall of 2022 or spring of 2023 based on weather and the procurement of materials; and substantial completion will be in September 2024.

Earlier this month, voters approved the referendum to provide funding for the building project with 659 "yes" votes against 356 "no" votes.

A previous $25.2 million referendum failed in November 2019.