The Grade Blog

Tuesday, Jan 15 2013 04:39 PM

Education roundup: Bond refinance to save taxpayers money

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

The Kern High School District has voted to refinance two previously issued bonds in order to take advantage of low interest rates, a move expected to save taxpayers $10,319,467 after prepayment penalties, issuing costs and other expenses.

The Series A bond was issued in 2005 for $50 million, and the Series B bond was issued in 2006 for $70 million.

Series A now has a balance of $12,920,000 and Series B has a balance of $58,795,000, for a total of $71,715,000 outstanding.

Series A is being refinanced for the second time in less than a year. It was refinanced on July 3, 2012, but rates have fallen so low that the district decided it would be cost effective to do it again.

Restructuring the debt will save taxpayers $11 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for property taxes over the course of 21 years.

The financing is expected to be complete by March, and taxpayers should see the savings starting in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Bakersfield College enrollment is falling due to ongoing budget challenges, the school reported last week.

As of Jan. 9, BC will begin its spring semester with 15,301 students, a decrease of more than 6 percent from the previous year.

The school also is offering 1,520 courses, down by 94 year-over-year.

The spring 2013 semester started on Monday.

Piano students from the Cal State Bakersfield Music Department will present the Winter Piano Studio Recital 7:30 p.m. Friday in the CSUB Music Building, room 127, 9001 Stockdale Highway.

The program will feature CSUB music students and will include music by J.S. Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and others.

The recital is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Soo-Yeon Chang at 654-2156.

John L. Prueitt Elementary School in Wasco and Beardsley Junior High School in Oildale are among 35 California public schools nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program award.

Prueitt is a K-6 school founded in 1992. It has about 700 students.

Beardsley has about 350 students in grades seven and eight.

Schools are eligible to be considered for the 2013 award if they meet one of two performance criteria:

Exemplary High-Performing Schools achieve at least the 85th percentile statewide in the percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in English-language arts and mathematics on the state assessments.

Exemplary Improving Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from a disadvantaged background are among the top 10 percent of schools in the state showing the greatest improvement in the percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in English-language arts and mathematics on the state assessments over the last five years.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices.

Before they can receive the National Blue Ribbon award, nominees undergo two separate reviews to see if they meet adequate yearly progress in state assessments.

Because state assessment results are not typically announced until late summer, the U.S. Department of Education usually announces the winning schools in September of the year after a school's initial nomination.

The awards ceremony takes place in mid-fall.

For more education news, go to The Californian's education blog, The Grade, at www.bakersfield.com/thegrade, or follow The Grade's Twitter at twitter.com/TBCTheGrade. Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/EducationReporterCourtenayEdelhart .

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