Debt Management OKs school bond

The Carson City School District on Monday cleared the first hurdle to issue an $18 million bond designed to make general improvements and increase school safety.

The city's debt management commission approved the proposed amount Monday night.

Superintendent Jim Parry said the city's approval of the amount does not mean that the city approves the bond itself.

"They don't pass judgment on the rightness or the wrongness of the project," Parry said. "They just decide if the amount is within certain limits."

Parry said the district did not need to worry about exceeding any of the limits since the bond would not raise the tax rate.

Property owners pay a 47-cent tax to retire school district debt. Without the school bond, that rate would go down. With the bond, it would remain the same.

However, in past years, as the school district has dropped its tax rate, the city has increased its taxes.

"The city has been capturing it every time we reduce it, so it doesn't go to the taxpayers," Parry said. "It goes to the city."

The school district's debt limit, determined at 15 percent of the city's assessed property value, is between $140 million-$150 million.

The district owes nearly $32 million and will owe $18 million if the bond passes, with a total of about $50 million.

"We're way under the debt cap," Parry said.

Marty Johnson, financial adviser to the district, said the district plans to divide the $18 million bond issue into two parts - $9 million in the spring of 2001 and the remaining $9 million in 2003.

Parry said the board is seeking the minimum amount to make necessary repairs to school buildings.

"The board feels that this is a bond issue that will help protect our investment and increase safety," he said. "We would be unable to do this with only the general fund."

The district plans to formulate the election question by June 13 and the final approval of the question should take place at the June 27 meeting.

The final question will be presented to the city clerk by July 17.


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