Board OKs bond sale Tuesday

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Bond election is scheduled for 2012

By Jennifer Garcia

Tuesday night the Los Alamos Public Schools Board met for the first time since the 2010-11 school year ended in May.

The members discussed a mixed bag of topics, including high school, middle school and Aspen Elementary construction updates, a change in the schedule of fees for long-term rentals; a bond sale resolution, monthly status reports, a journal entry report for May, a first and second reading of policies and updates on the district’s new headquarters at 2075 Trinity Dr., as well as an update on the status of negotiations with the developer on the Trinity Site Development at 751 Trinity Dr.

Most of the action taken during the meeting involved approval of the agenda, minutes, budget adjustment requests and ratification of May cash disbursements. The board also approved the bond sale resolution presented to them.

Kevin Powers of RBC Capital Markets in Albuquerque, and Duane Brown, the district’s bond attorney with Modrall, Sperling law firm, presented the board with details regarding the bond sale.

Powers said that as of June 14, the district has $35 million in outstanding debt. He went over the district’s history of bond sales, citing a successful election in January 2009, during which the district was authorized to sell $40 million in bonds, with a tax increase of approximately $5.50.

In addition, $10 million in bonds was sold on April 23, 2009, $20 million was sold on July 13, 2010 and $5 million will be sold on July 12 in “conjunction with the refunding of Series 2000 and Series 2002 Bonds. The total par amount is approximately $6.8 million and will be designated as bank-qualified obligations. The closing is scheduled for Aug. 23, 2011.”

“Selling these bonds will dovetail nicely with your construction project,” Powers said. “We’re in a very strong bond market right now. We’re 50 percent below last year’s issuance level.”

Powers also said the district’s sale next month will “rival any sale you’ve had in the last 12 months.”

The next bond election is slated for next year. Following Powers’ and Brown’s presentations, the board voted 5-0, to approve the bond sale.

LAPS Superintendent Gene Schmidt gave a brief update on the properties at 751 and 2075 Trinity Drive. He said that North American Development group is in negotiations with the county and the school district, regarding development of the property at 751 Trinity Dr.

“The school will start receiving rent once rent permits are approved,” Schmidt said.

He also told members that once a contract is signed, the developer will have a listening session with the county and the school district.

LAPS Board President Melanie McKinley wanted to know when the rental agreements would be approved.
“The contracts will be signed with the county at the end of June,” Schmidt said. “The buildings will be up by 2013.”

In addition, Schmidt said the district is working with architects and consultants, to bring the scale and scope of the radon mitigation project at 2075 Trinity Dr. to the board in the near future.

Earlier this month, elevated levels of radon were detected in the basement that resulted in one staffer being relocated upstairs.

The basement in the building at 2075 Trinity Dr., houses file cabinets filled with district records, a break room and a staff meeting room. Recent levels in the break room measured 10.1 and the basement hallway measured 8.4, Schmidt said in an earlier report.

“I don’t have a dollar amount yet but the mitigation will involve ventilating the basement to remove the radon,” said John Wolfe, chief financial officer for the district.

No board action was taken on either of the property topics.