NESHANNOCK, PA. School project moves forward

The board will refinance some bonds for the expansion project, which will save the district money because of lower interest rates.
NESHANNOCK, Pa. -- Plans are moving forward to improve and expand the elementary school in the Neshannock Area School District.
The board approved Daniel Engen of Eckles Architecture, New Castle, to proceed with the proposed elementary school renovation and new construction. The total project will not exceed $12,118,755.
Board President Frank Rondinelli said, "We don't have to spend that much money, just not exceed the $12 million."
The board also scheduled a public hearing to describe the project's scope and to solicit comments from the public at 8 p.m. Dec. 3, after the board's reorganization meeting.
Engen said the state requires the hearing when school districts are making additions that will be more than 20 percent of the current structure.
To finance the project, the board authorized the administration to work with Public Financial Management, Harrisburg, as the financial adviser, and Eckert, Seamens, Cherrina and Mellot, LLC, Pittsburgh, as bond counsel.
The district will issue general obligation bonds in the amount of $10 million in November to refinance the school district's 1998 bonds.
Greg McClanahan of Public Financial Management said refinancing the 1998 bonds will give the district a minimum of $200,000 in savings because of the low interest rates.
The district will refinance $8.8 million from the 1998 bonds, and $1.2 million will be new money for the elementary school project.
McClanahan told the board that the district's taxpayers could see a mill increase totaling 6 to 7 mills during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years.
He suggested that the board do a wraparound form of financing, which would only require the district to pay the interest on the new bonds until the old debt is paid off.
"The wraparound program lessens the [financial] impact on the taxpayers to enable the completion of the project," McClanahan added.
Board Secretary Carol Robinson said the last time the district saw a tax increase was the 2000-01 school year.

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