Thursday, April 7, 2016

HJUHSD bond refinance saves taxpayers millions

Hanford Joint Union High School District has refinanced a portion of its outstanding general obligation bonds, which will save the District’s property owners more than $3.5 million in taxes.

The 2016 Refunding Bonds were approved by the Board of Trustees March 8 to refinance two prior bonds. The bonds were originally authorized by District voters in 2004 to construct, acquire and equip school facilities as well as construct Sierra Pacific High School.

“By refinancing these bonds, we were able to lower tax rates for our District residents," Superintendent William Fishbough said. "This is in addition to the taxpayer savings from our 2014 bond refunding.”

The interest rates on 2004 bonds ranged between 4 and 5 percent. The interest rates for the $23.495 million of refunding bonds, which sold on March 23, are between 0.40 and 3.24 percent. The difference in rates will save property owners $3,569,767.

“Interest rates are near all-time lows; we could not pass up the opportunity to lower bond payments even further," HJUHSD Board President John Webster said.

Instrumental to this savings was a strong A+ credit rating by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (“S&P”). S&P cited as credit strengths, increasing property values in the District and very strong general fund balances. S&P also mentioned in their report that the District has established good management practices, with sound financial policies and well-grounded revenue and expenditure assumptions.

“District staff, faculty and the Board all work together to make sure our District is well-run. The strong credit rating helps us further lower our borrowing costs for this and future financings,” HJUHSD Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Silva said.