Zachary schools get good bond bid

The Zachary Community School Board received on Thursday the most favorable bid for bonds in the nine-year history of the district’s construction program.

The board agreed to accept the bid of Bank of America Merrill Lynch for $11 million in bonds. The company will charge an average interest rate of 2.759 percent during the 20-year life of the bonds.

Zachary voters have approved four bond issues totaling $129 million since the district was formed from part of the East Baton Rouge Parish school system.

The $11 million in new borrowing will be the final bond sale in the $40 million bond issue voters approved in November 2010.

Five companies offered to buy the district’s bonds, which are rated AA-minus by the Standard and Poor’s rating agency.

Bond attorney Jerry Osborne said four other firms offered to buy the bonds, with the least favorable bidder offering an average interest rate of 3.248 percent.

The board levies a 36-mill property tax to repay the bonds.

Finance Director Gordon Robertson said the district has repaid about $26 million of the bond issues so far.

Osborne told the School Board the interest rate offered by Thursday’s successful bidder will “hasten the day that you can lower your bond millage.”

The previous low bid came in March from Morgan Keegan and Co. at an average interest rate of 3.128 percent.

The next construction project scheduled in the district is a two-story class-
room and administrative building at Zachary Elementary School.

Workers were moving temporary buildings from the campus on Thursday to prepare the new construction site.

When voters approved the last $40 million bond is-
sue, board members said the construction money would allow the district to put all of its students in permanent classroom buildings and keep the current grade clusters in which every student attends every school from kindergarten through high school.