COOS BAY — More money has been added to the Coos Bay School District's bond project.
An additional $6 million came in after the district went out and sold $40 million of the initial $59.9 million, which was approved by voters last November.
“This is a good thing,” said Candace McGowne, the district’s director of business services. “Getting this money from the sale of the first set of bonds reflects well on our finances.”
McGowne broke down the complicated process, explaining that before the district went to sell the bonds it first received its bond rating.
According to a press release, Standard and Poors Global – which provides credit ratings – assigned the district an A+ underlying rating and an AA+ long term rating. In short, the district did well.
“This happened due to several years of consistently strong financial performance and very strong ending fund balances,” McGowne said. “We had submitted information on our district and community, three years of financials which means audits, budgets, that kind of thing, as well as the process on how we build a budget.”
Part of why the district also received such a high rating was after it purchased insurance on the bonds through the Oregon’s School Bond Guaranty Program, “which made them even more attractive to investors,” the release said.
Once the bond rating is received, a statement is sent to investors before the bond sale in order for them to evaluate if the district is a safe investment or not.
“We started the sale at 7:30 a.m.,” McGowne said. “Coupled with us being a good investment and that stocks opened poorly – so if stocks are down, bonds are up – that worked in our favor. People wanted to invest in us that day because it was smart on their part.”
Because of this, the district came out with over $46.2 million, so an additional $6 million than what they started with.
“That means we can use that for the project,” she said. “We still have to meet the same guidelines, still have to spend 85 percent in three years, but we have more to spend.”
McGowne added that the district is aware that construction costs have increased since the initial project proposal, “so we hope to have more of a cushion from this.”
The projects include the demolition of the old Eastside school, which will become a new elementary school. It will become the home for students currently attending Blossom Gulch Elementary, which will be closed. Other projects include rebuilding most of the Harding Building, as well as improvement projects in Madison and Millicoma.