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Washington County Schools board members opted to refinance bonds from 2003, which could save the school system $100,000 or more over the next 10 years.
Joe Nance, with Ross Sinclaire, presented the board with its options.
Nance said the series 2003 bond issue is approaching the call date (10 years upon purchase), which qualifies it for refinancing.
The next bond issue that would be subject to refinancing is the series 2008, he said.
The interest rate is currently at four percent, he said, but refinancing could bring the rate down to slightly over two percent.
There are 10 years left on the bonds, he said, and should save the school district $10,000 a year in payments for a net savings of $100,000.
Nance told the board that he would consider that number a minimum savings, with the possibilities ranging closer to $120,000.
Pat Clements made a motion to authorize refinancing, while Nora Hatton seconded the motion. Board members voted unanimously to refinance.
Jason Simpson, the director of special education and preschool coordinator for Washington County Schools, presented the board with numbers related to Advanced Placement (AP) enrollment at the high school.
The district has benefitted from a grant from Advanced Kentucky, which is geared toward increasing enrollment and passing rates for AP classes and tests.
Simpson noted that 81 slots were filled in AP classes in the 2010-2011 school year, while that number rose to 161 in 2011-12 and to 221 in 2012-13.
In 2010-11, 17 out of 81 AP tests were passed, a 21 percent pass rate. In 2011-12, 54 out of 161 tests were passed, a 34 percent pass rate.
“That’s huge when you start talking about savings to families as far as college credit,” Simpson said.
Superintendent Robin Cochran added that the training that has come along with the grant has been invaluable.
“Other districts that are just doing AP don’t necessarily get the training or the how-to and the expectations that teachers have taken on,” Cochran said. “I think that it’s changing the way that the teachers are able to see what the kids are able to do and they’re learning to adjust their expectations and the rigor.”
Breakfast program success
Regina Hood, food services director for Washington County Schools, updated board members on the success of a breakfast program in the district.
Hood compared the number of students from last school year and this school year at WCHS that ate breakfast from the grab-and-go cart in the gym.
From this school year, average daily participation has increased from 95 students in September to 119 students in December. The number has risen each month, she said.
Board Chairperson Patsy Lester asked Hood if the meal was the same as what was being offered for breakfast in the cafeteria.
“We offer the reimbursable meal and like maybe on gravy and biscuit day we may just have sausage and biscuits wrapped up,” Hood said. “Something that’s easy, just grab and go.”
Hatton asked if there was a reduction in students eating breakfast in the cafeteria due to the program, but Hood said there wasn’t a discernible difference.