Harrisonville Board of Education looks to refinance bonds

Special to the Democrat MissourianJanuary 24, 2014 

Recognized at the Harrisonville Board of Education meeting on Jan. 21, this group of middle school students was honored for various accolades. They are pictured with Board President Deb Welhoff (left) and Harrisonville Middle School Principal Chris Grantham.

ELLEN PARSON/SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT MISSOURIAN

When most homeowners choose to refinance their home mortgage loan, they’re typically looking to save some cash with a lower monthly payment. When the Harrisonville School District recently looked into refinancing a portion of its bonds with Dick Bartow, the district’s financial advisor at George K. Baum, the future interest cost savings were significant to say the least – totaling almost $800,000.

Based on Bartow’s recommendation, the Board of Education unanimously approved the resolution authorizing the 2014 Refunding of Series 2007A Jan. 21.

Bartow was on hand to explain the numbers and assure the group that this move would not extend the length of the bond issue in any way. He told board members of the significance of the district’s bond credit rating upgrade by Standard & Poor's from an A+ in 2007 to AA- this year.

“I just can’t say enough about this upgrade,” Bartow said. “This is truly something. In this economy, that’s just not happening.”

Bartow explained that by waiting until January to refinance a portion of the bonds, as he advised, the district will save even more.

“If we were doing this in December, it would have been about $650,000 in savings,” he said. “Now we are going to save nearly $800,000 by refinancing these bonds at this time. We have definitely hit the market at a good time.”

Principal of Harrisonville Middle School Chris Grantham took the podium to introduce student honorees, commenting on their individual accomplishments and outstanding achievements.

Bethany Nichols and Bailey Woolsey were honored as student directors for the middle school play, selected for their leadership and acting skills.

Evan Filer (who was also the Spelling Bee champion this year) and Elizabeth Kehoe were recognized for receiving the highest level of “4” (advanced) on standards-based testing in all core subjects. According to their teachers, these two “have an unquenchable desire to learn. Their attitude is positive, and they are always seeking more information and the right answer.”

Mycah Akin and Michael Schuhler earned an advanced score of "4" on their Character Letter Project, a difficult writing assignment that required students to choose a character from a book, research the way he or she solves a problem, and then write a creative letter from this character’s point of view.

Cheyenne Taber was honored for her integrity and dedication. According to Principal Grantham, Cheyenne always has a smile on her face and does a great job in the classroom no matter what comes her way. “She is an inspiration to her teachers, administrators, and peers,” he said.

Characterizing Leah Overbay as a great academic achiever but also a compassionate student with outstanding character, Principal Grantham said she is always willing to help others, yet never has to be asked to do so.

Abby McDonald and Kimberlee Hogan were recognized for scoring advanced on all learning goals in Pre-Algebra.

Hannah Gibbs was honored for her outstanding work in communication arts.

In other business, the board heard a report from Cassidy Brannon, president of Harrisonville PTO, on the organization's goals and activities for the year. A highlight from earlier this year related to the annual fundraiser, in which the group sold 1,000 more trash bags than last year — for a total of 8,500 this year.

In addition to an update from David Kauffman, MSBA delegate, on the Missouri School Boards Association activities, Beth Mulvey, assistant superintendent, presented a Guidance Program review and update as well as went over changes and modifications to the curriculum for the 2014-15 school year.

Finally, Superintendent Bryan McDonald indicated that filing for the office of director for the Board of Education closed at 5 p.m. on Jan. 14. There are three, three-year terms to be filled. Deb Welhoff, incumbent, Susie Yoder, Doug Alexander, Jerald Dickey and Theresa Stephens filed notice of their candidacy for the April 8, 2014 election.

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