Ridgefield School District has successfully taken advantage of current low bond interest rates to save taxpayers more than $2.5 million over the next 10 years. A sale of bonds authorized by the district’s Board of Directors will refinance bonds issued in 2012 that financed renovations and an expansion at Ridgefield High School and expansions at the district’s two elementary schools, Union Ridge and South Ridge elementary schools. The overall borrowing rate for the new bonds sold on September 20 is 3.08%, compared to the previous rate of 4.52%.
“This is a great opportunity to save our taxpayers a significant amount of money,” said Superintendent Dr. Nathan McCann. He emphasized that the anticipated savings will go directly to taxpayers through lower future tax collections. “This money will now stay in our community and local economy rather than pay interest on bonds.”
Although there has been substantial volatility in the bond market over the past couple of months, the interest rates on these types of bonds are still relatively low, which allowed the refinancing to exceed the board’s savings target, according to Paula McCoy, the District’s Executive Director of Business Services. “We have been monitoring the market closely over the past year to identify the best opportunity to refinance the district’s 2012 bonds. We are very happy to be able to provide significant savings to the district taxpayers,” McCoy said.
As part of the sale, the district received a strong credit rating of “Aa3” from Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s noted the district’s voter support for operating levies among credit strengths, but also noted the recent bond measure failures “have the potential to escalate as a credit issue given the rapid student enrollment growth and facility needs.”
“This refinancing is one more way to demonstrate to our community our commitment to fiscal stewardship of the funds entrusted to us,” said Joe Vance, president of RSD’s board of directors. “We want our community to know that we do everything we can to minimize the costs of our bonds.”