By Stephanie Malench
The Collinsville Unit #10 School District held a special meeting on July 12 to discuss two different options to fund the difference between the expected cost of $16.5 million and $20 million and the $14.76 million in ESSER pandemic funds being given to school districts and other forms of local government across the state of Illinois. Unit 10’s share of funding is $14.76 million.
Because of an exemption from the state, Unit 10 is able to use the funds towards building a new Caseyville Elementary School, which is no longer adequate to serve the needs of the community due to overcrowding, not enough classrooms, a shortage of restrooms, and bus congestion.
The other major space issue the school board has identified as a priority is at Dorris Intermediate School, which will be getting an expansion to include more office and learning spaces and additional restrooms.
The cost for the new Caseyville Elementary School is estimated to cost between $13 million and $16 million and the estimated cost for the DIS expansion is between $3.5 million and $4 million.
After several public comments asking the district to make masks optional for students and staff (see Masks Should Be Optional), the district’s financial advisor Tammie Beckwith Schallmo with PMA Securities LLC gave a presentation on the ramifications of taking out Health Life and Safety Bonds versus issuing Debt Certificates.
Neither of the below proposals require an increase in property taxes.
The $10 million in bonds the district sold in 2020 are set to mature in 2024, leaving the district debt free. In the first option, if the district were to sell $5 million in Life and Safety Bonds it would extend the debt out to 2027 and $10 million would extend the debt out until 2029.
In order for more Health Life Safety Bonds to be purchased, the district would have have approval by the Illinois State Board of Education for qualifying work and provide 30 day notice as well as a public hearing.
The second option is the issuance of debt certificates, which may be issued on real property (land, plus buildings and fixtures permanently affixed to it) or personal (any property that is not affixed to it, including equipment, furniture, and technology). The annual debt service would be paid by operating funds from the operating/management fund, which will increase by $200,624.55 when the Eastport TIF 1 expires in December 2021.
Debt certificates would be issued/sold for between $4.4 and $4.7 million and the district would pay back $500,000 each year until the debt is paid off.
No public hearing is required. The only legal requirement is the board would pass a resolution proposing the adoption of a debt certificate resolution selling the certificates. The resolution would be good for six months and would include the maximum amount of money to borrow, maximum interest rate, and two officers to delegate approval.
After hearing both proposals, the board decided to vote to sell debt certificates at the July 19 board meeting (6:30 p.m.) to be held in the Caseyville Elementary School gym , 433 S. 2nd St. in Caseyville following a public hearing on construction of the new Caseyville Elementary School (6 p.m.). The public is invited to go on public tours of the cafeteria, cafeteria bathrooms and second floor beginning at 5:30 p.m.