By Andrea McCann
At its regular meeting Monday evening, the Zionsville Community Schools board unanimously approved making Boone Meadow Elementary a pre-K through grade-four facility as of the next school year and set new elementary school districts.
Chief Operating Officer Bob Bostwick explained the corporation needs occupancy relief at Stonegate Elementary, which is at 110-percent capacity with 674 K-fourth-grade students. On the other end of the spectrum, he said Boone Meadow is at only 37-percent capacity with 219 preschool students. Following a study of the occupancy situation, a recommendation was made to assign pre-K through grade-four students in the Blackstone and Maple Grove housing developments south of Indiana 334 to Boone Meadow, shifting high growth potential to that school.
The move will reduce Stonegate occupancy to 84 percent – still the highest of the elementary schools, but a considerable drop from 110 percent – and bump Boone Meadow’s occupancy to 72 percent. The boundary changes will have a slight effect on the other elementary schools, bumping their capacities up by 1 percent to 3 percent.
ZCS Board of School Trustees also approved hiring a principal for the building, a decision member Bill Stanczykiewicz questioned given the cost.
“It’s just part of doing business ...,” Chief Financial Officer Mike Shafer replied as he explained the necessity.
Finance was on the board’s mind as before the board meeting, president James Longest opened a public hearing on the proposed appropriation of proceeds and interest earnings from the pension refunding bonds. The bonds, issued in 2004, are due to be paid off in 2014, but refinancing now could save the corporation approximately $880,000 by lowering the interest rate from more than 6 percent to less than 3 percent. Proceeds from refinancing the bond issue must be appropriated to pay off the existing bonds, Shafer explained.
“We’ve reached the point now that makes refinancing feasible,” he said. “The window of opportunity is of limited duration.”
Jeff Qualkenbush, counsel on the bond issue from Barnes & Thornburg, explained to the board that there was a two-part resolution before them: the final bond resolution authorizing the refunding of the $8.5-million bonds at an interest rate not to exceed 4 percent and an appropriation resolution that would appropriate $7.6 million in principal and interest. He said the average interest rate currently is about 2.5 percent.
Qualkenbush expects the interest rate to be locked in later this month and the deal to close in mid-April. He said he would report back at the next board meeting.