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$75 million in bonds will help pay for these two major Gainesville school projects
08202020 BOND
The Gainesville Board of Education on Wednesday, Aug. 19, approved the issuance of $75 million in bonds. - photo by Jeff Gill

The financing of two major Gainesville school projects took a key step Wednesday, Aug. 19, after the school board approved $75 million in bonds. 

The bonds will pay for a new $32 million middle school and $51 million redesign of the Gainesville High School campus. 

To pay off the bonds, the system will make yearly payments of about $5.6 million starting in November 2023 and ending November 2042, for a total of about $111.5 million, including interest, school officials say. 

The system can defer payments because collection of the new, 1-cent education special purpose local option sales tax doesn’t start until November 2022, Superintendent Jeremy Williams said. 

The education SPLOST will be used to make the bond payments. With the tax expected to bring in between $41 million and $43 million, passage of additional E-SPLOSTs would be needed to fully pay off the bonds, officials have said

In June, voters approved extending the sales tax another five years and the school board issuing up to $83 million in bonds. The bond market has improved in recent months, so net proceeds from the $75 million issuance are expected to be about $86.8 million, or higher than expected, Williams said. 

“We still have that difference (of $8 million in bonds) … for future projects without having to go back to the citizens (for another vote),” he said. 

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