OSWEGO – The Oswego School Board has approved an $18 million bond issue to finance a building maintenance plan.
The District 308 board voted on Jan. 24 to sell the bonds, allowing the school administration to move ahead with a six-year capital improvement program.
The effort is designed to allow the district to catch up on some deferred maintenance and to make scheduled repairs as they come due, District 308 Chief Financial Officer John Petzke said.
The bond sale will take place the morning of Jan. 25, Petzke said after the board gave approval on a 6-0 vote.
The district owns and operates 22 school buildings and many are in need of new roofs, heating and air-conditioning units, parking lot repairs and other basic infrastructure projects.
The $18 million in revenue from the bonds will be directed into the district’s working cash fund.
For the typical home valued at $300,000, the bond sale will result in an additional $54 per year on the owner’s property tax bill over the life of the six-year repayment period, Petzke said.
It is required that the district spend 85% of the bond revenue within three years and all of the rest after six years, Petzke said.
The district’s Finance and Facility Committee, composed of administrators, school board members and residents, is working now to identify maintenance projects.
School board member Lauri Doyle, a member of the committee, said the group recently met with an architect to help determine “needs” as opposed to “wants.”
Doyle said the committee is working with Petzke to tie financing with specific maintenance projects.
The school board also voted to issue up to $20 million in tax anticipation warrants, which effectively operate like a short-term loan, to meet the district’s cash flow needs until property tax revenues become available later in the year.
Petzke said the district is working to amass a working cash fund balance of $35 million, representing 20% of the district’s operating funds, by 2026, which will allow the district to avoid short-term borrowing.
Currently the district has a working cash fund of $14 million, Petzke said.