Hall County school officials moved ahead this week on the issue of two bonds totaling $19.5 million that will go toward major school improvements, including the building of an addition to the Academies of Discovery on Atlanta Highway.
School board members unanimously approved a resolution Monday to cover each of the $9.75 million bonds, which will be repaid by funds collected through a 1 percent education special purpose local option sales tax approved by voters in November 2015.
Borrowing the money to improve school facilities immediately and pay it back as funds from the E-SPLOST are collected will allow school officials to lock in on attractive interest rates on each of the bonds.
The county’s bond attorney told administrators that the first bond to be issued Dec. 30 will be paid back with an interest rate of 1.7 percent. The second bond will be issued Jan. 6, and it will be charged interest at a rate of 1.72 percent.
Hall Superintendent Will Schofield said Tuesday that keeping each of the bonds under $10 million was the key to making them “bank qualified” and attractive to lenders, which resulted in locking in the attractive interest rates.
“It lets us do school improvements without property taxes,” Schofield said.
Officials said the bonds would also fund an instructional support center at the Lanier Charter Career Academy.
School officials got more good money news from financial officer Jonathan Boykin at their meeting Monday. Boykin said property tax collections are up $4.5 million from a year ago.
Schofield said he likes the trend.
“The encouraging number there is that we’re 4 percent ahead of collections of where we were last year,” he said. “It’s all good news.”