Mt. Lebanon to borrow $34.75 million for high school renovation
Mt. Lebanon school directors will borrow $34.75 million to finish paying for the district's $109.65 million high school renovation, and an uptick in interest rates means slightly higher tax bills for property owners.
The owner of a home valued at $100,000, for example, will pay $59.40 over three years.
The district broke up financing for the nearly four-year renovation, which includes adding science and athletic wings, renovating the main academic wing and fine arts wing, demolishing two wings and converting a gymnasium into an airy central court and cafeteria.
A goal of raising money to offset the second bond issue hit a snag last year, when consultants told the district they couldn't raise $30 million in time to affect the bonds.
Financial adviser Tim Frenz said a bond sale on Monday went well, but the lowest bidder's interest rates were slightly higher than his prediction last week when the school board authorized the bond sale — so resulting tax increases will be higher.
“Interest rates, in general, are higher than they were the week before,” Frenz said. “This was a good time to get into the market, as rates are only going to get higher.”
The district decided to “wrap” the bonds around existing debt, so it would pay more principal on new bonds as it pays off the old.
That means the district will pay more interest over the 20-year life of the bonds, but its total annual debt payments will be a steady $10.5 million.
The district borrowed slightly more than the $32.75 million needed to complete the project so it can phase in the 0.594 tax increase at about 0.2 mills per year starting in 2014-15.
Board member Scott Goldman, the only member to vote against finalizing the bonds, favored a level-payment structure that would result in larger up-front payments for the bonds and a larger tax increase, but a shorter life for the bonds and millions less in interest payments.
Frenz said he did not re-run the analysis to compare the costs of a level structure to a wrapped structure at the higher interest rate, because the board majority directed him to pursue the wrapped structure.
“The increased millage rate is not the result of the structure — it's a result of higher interest rates,” he said.
In other action on Monday, the board unanimously approved a 4 percent pay raise for Superintendent Timothy Steinhauer, bringing his salary to $163,776 plus benefits. The raise is retroactive to July 1.
“We are a high-performing school district and we expect a lot of our staff,” said board President Elaine Cappucci. “The one staff member of whom we expect the most is our superintendent.”
She said Steinhauer met or exceeded six goals the district set for him, including shepherding the high school renovation, operating district finances responsibly and increasing student achievement rates.
Matthew Santoni is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5625 or email@example.com.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Moon assesses ways to help struggling Mooncrest
- Churchill teens putting Irish dancing skills on world stage
- Western Pa. school districts address e-cigarettes
- Western Pa. nurses who served during Vietnam invited to tea in their honor
- 2nd hotel planned in McCandless
- Pittsburgh Botanic Garden ready to bloom again
- Kennedy man knocks out book about one-of-a-kind collection
- Upper St. Clair revisits district budget
- Young Achiever: John Ehling
- Franklin Park zoning board outlines decision on exemptions