Minden Press-Herald

Thursday
Oct 02nd

Board tags $4M for Doyline

Spending of the $10 million Doyline bond continued earlier this month, when the Webster Parish School Board approved more than $4 million to be spent on Doyline School.

"This (bond) will be used to pay for the expansion of the school created under the consolidation plan," said Grant Schleuter, bond attorney for the Webster Parish School Board.

Doyline consolidated from two schools into one. Union Elementary, which is now closed, merged into Doyline High School last year.

According to Schleuter, voters approved the property tax in 2010 in anticipation of a seven-mil increase, which would have raised the millage to slightly more than 42 mils.

"We were able to reduce that because property value increased nicely in the Doyline area since the election," he said after the bond's approval in 2011. "We were able to reduce the mils down to 38, making it a 3-mil increase in what they are currently paying."

"But it has gotten even better," Schleuter continued. "When we sold these bonds, we sold them for lower than we expected."

Due to a low interest rate of 3.99 percent on the bonds, which was possible because of an "A" credit rating, the millage rate should remained at approximately 35 mils.

"The low interest rate is a direct result of the 'A' rating of the Webster Parish School Board," Schleuter said. "They got that rating in large part because they made painful decisions in how to cut costs.

"Another factor is property tax base in the Doyline school district has been going up nicely each year, which means that each mil of tax produces a little bit more," Schleuter continued. "All that means there are less payments each year on the bond, which means we do not need as much property taxes from Doyline taxpayers to pay the bond."

Factors that make up an "A" rating include local economy, school board finances and tax base.

"The single biggest factor the school board controls is their own finances and whether or not they maintain a healthy fund balance (reserve or savings)," Schleuter said. "The rating agencies like to see, in general, 10 percent fund balance."

Schleuter said historically the board has had more than 10 percent of the operating budget in reserve.

"I think they had close to 18 to 20 percent, but they had to draw that down to pay operating expenses because financially they were having problems with increased expenses and declining revenues and so forth," he said. "So, the belt tightening by cutting expenses through some of the consolidation matters is helping them preserve that 10 percent fund balance."

According to notes from Stephanie Morse of Yeager, Watson & Associates, Inc, the bonds will be used for phase two of improvements to Doyline School which includes interior renovations to the main building and kindergarten building.

Classrooms will receive new lighting and HVAC units through the campus will be replaced, as well as ceiling tiles.

Hallways will receive new flooring and tile wainscot after asbestos tile is removed.

Additional data and electrical equipment for technology will be installed in classrooms. Chalkboards will be replaced with marker boards and classrooms will have intercom systems upgraded and be repainted, while restrooms will be renovated.

In the main building, the office will be relocated to the new front entry and the old office will be renovated into teachers' workroom and lounge, while renovations are made to the kitchen.

A new security system, new toilet room in the kindergarten building and new elementary multipurpose building will also be added.

The roofs to the main building, kindergarten building and gymnasium will be replaced.

The campus will be receiving a digital school sign, site lighting in parking areas and a new softball and baseball press box with toilet rooms and concession stands.

The home team dugouts will be new, with locker rooms and storage, as well as new baseball visitor dugout, with new bench and storage in softball visitors' dugout.

The softball concession stand will be renovated to have water. New bleachers for softball and baseball fields, as well as a new baseball outfield fence will also be installed.

 

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