The Simpson Board of Education held a special called meeting on May 4 to address pending issues.
Items that were addressed included the following:
a placement agent
-Resolution to retain
legal counsel and muni-cipal advisor
Additionally the board heard an update of on-going capital projects which included those on the Mendenhall Elementary campus and Simpson Central campus.
A resolution was adopted for teachers and administrators as well as employees of the district who announced retirement:
Marilyn Alexander 30 yrs
Rhoda Berry 33 yrs
Judy Byrd 33 yrs
Janice Canoy 35 yrs
Melissa Cardin 25 yrs
Linda Creel 21 yrs
Martha Holoman 18 yrs
Terrell Luckey 35 yrs
Kriste Mangum 28 yrs
DeAnna Maddox 28 yrs
Jeanie Pigg 43 yrs
Wanda Raddle 39 yrs
Crystal Smith 34 yrs
Nannette Taylor 13 yrs
Annashi Wyatt 26 yrs
In other business the board approved weather days that permitted students to be dismissed from class. This allowed for pay for all employees based on having to close schools because of inclement weather. Those days included March 23 for a full day, March 30 for a half day, April 5 for a full day and April 13 for a half day. This allows employees to be paid in the event of the emergency closure of schools. Payment is at the discretion of the board and requires their approval.
The board approved a Designated Placement Agent for the purpose of assisting in the structuring of the loan that would finance the lease program for building a new consolidated high school for Simpson County. The board selected Raymond James and Associates because of the size of the loan required to finance the lease for the building project.
The collateral for the project stands on the board’s ability to access taxes in order to service the debt for the building of the consolidated high school. All of this is required to go through the Securities Exchange Commission before final approval of the lease. They will advise on structure and timing of issuance of the bonds to fund the project.
To summarize, Raymond James will put together the lease package to finance building of the new consolidated high school. The school board will then seek funding from the county to service the debt to pay the lease agreement. The school can request an increase in funding up to 55 mils to pay debt. The current millage is 42 with an additional 2.5 in maintenance funding. The additional funding comes through increased taxes from the residents of the county.
This is the course necessitated after the school bond issue was defeated. The school bond would have only required the additional taxes until the debt was paid off.
The next issue discussed was to retain the legal counsel and municipal advisor for the lease to service the debt associated with the consolidated high school. The board opted to extend the contract with the firm represented by Jim Young of the Jim Young Law Group. Young is the attorney who assisted the board in the school bond issue until that failed in March. Young will now assist in planning the capital lease for funding of the project.
Attorney Wesla Leach was designated as the municipal advisor, which does not fall under the terms of her contract as school board attorney. The board approved the action. According to the contract, the fees for services are 1 percent up to an amount of proceeds of $1,750,000. The fees go down on the percentage based on figures that exceed that amount.
Board Chairman Danny Cowart stated that the financing could range between 1 and 1.25 percent based on all other expenses included.
Additionally, the board agreed to contract with MuniGroup LLC, which is co-owned by some members of the Jim Young Law Group, who will work for a 0.4 percent fee. This is determined on the amount of funding needed for the project. MuniGroup will help arrange for buyers of the debt to finance the lease.
Lee McCoy attended the special meeting and asked if he could address the board. Cowart informed McCoy that no time is designated during special meetings to address the board. With that said, Cowart adjourned the meeting.