The Brandon-Evansville School District's levy is increasing by 71.47%, due to the referendum that was approved by voters last month.

The increase was approved by the district's school board at the annual truth-in-taxation hearing on Monday, Dec. 20.

The 2021 levy was set at $1,512,384.71, while the 2022 levy is $2,593,347, a difference of $1,080,962.29, or 71.47%.

Superintendent Don Peschel said the district always sets the levy at the maximum amount it can approve.

The total levy is divided among the general fund, the community service fund and general debt service.

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The individual amounts are:

  • General fund levy: $901,401.35

  • Community service fund levy: $37,801.50

  • General debt service: $1,654,144.15

General obligation school building bonds

The school board also approved the sale of general obligation school building bonds toward the completion of the voter-approved referendum.

The board heard a presentation from Sam Hylle of Baird, a financial services company, regarding the bonds.

The bonds will be split into two groups because if they are issued in the amount of less than $10 million in one calendar year, the interest rate is lower, Hylle said.

The first group of bonds in the amount of $9,405,000, will close on Dec. 30, Hylle said, which will result in a $9,843,662 deposit to the project.

The estimated true interest cost will be 2.05%, a difference of -.15% from an initial projection, Hylle said.

According to a handout provided to the board, "The goal of the first financing is to take advantage of bank qualified rates. The deposit to the project fund goal with this issue coupled with a subsequent issue is to maximize voter-approved borrowing authorization of $14,500,000. The next tranche (segment) will seek to fund the remaining voter-approved project fund of $4,656,338.39."

The second group of bonds may be priced early next month, Hylle said.

Overall the district is looking at being about $225,000 better off on its project fund, approximately $1.096 million better in principle and interest and .75% better in true interest cost when compared to initial projections, Hylle said.

Expansion project

The school board also heard from Sean Lewis, senior project manager with ICS Consulting, which is providing single source accountability for the district's expansion project.

Lewis, who appeared at the meeting via speakerphone, said a schematic design will be ready for the board to view in January.

A project oversight committee also has been established which will review the schematic design, Lewis said.

Following the schematic design, there will be a design/development phase for the overall project, as well as Phase I, which will involve the demolition of an unused portion of an Evansville structure from 1917/1939, Lewis said.

He added that demolition will hopefully happen in the summer of 2022.

Following that, bids will be let in September and October for Phase 2, which is essentially the rest of the project, Lewis said.

Construction of concrete footings and foundations will begin in the spring of 2023, and the construction of building additions will go through 2023 and 2024, Lewis said.

Renovation of existing spaces will also take place in the summer of 2024, he said.

The entire project should be ready by the fall of 2024, Lewis said.

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

The referendum authorizes the issuing of general obligation school building bonds that will not exceed $14.5 million and will go toward "the betterment of school sites and facilities."

A previous $25.2 million referendum failed in November 2019.