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Chester school board considers refinancing bonds

Contributing Writer
updated: 5/23/2019 1:03 AM

The Chester school board is mulling the refinancing of bonds that are nearing their call dates, after hearing from one brokerage expert that the district could save significant money.

Tom Crabtree, of the brokerage and banking firm Stifel Financial, told the board that their net savings could be as much as 6.8% -- adding that any amount over 2% or 3% was worthwhile.

Superintendent Brian Pasero said he asked Crabtree to speak to the board because of the grade school HVAC and ventilation system project beginning this summer that could cost as much as $1.8 million to complete.

Pasero said there is currently not enough money in the district's sales tax fund to cover that amount, but that if the board chooses to refinance some bonds, it would provide additional money.

One of the bonds in question has a call date of December 2019. The Board will need to decide to refinance within three months of the call.

New classes coming to high school

The school board approved new curriculum options at the high school, which Principal Melissa Meyer presented as Graphic Communications, a Photoshop-type class; Business Management; Sociology; Contemporary World News; Psychology; and a new Ancient History study.

The board also approved changing graduation requirements for Computer Concepts from 1 to credit. Meyer also said that Chester High School has been chosen by the Regional Superintendent's office to host summer school classes in English and Math.

Tim Lochhead bids farewell

Grade School Principal Tim Lochhead, who is retiring after 25 years, read a moving farewell he had prepared for the board, talking about all the things he is going to miss and the people who he has shared experiences with. Pasero thanked Lochhead for all he has done and for he has meant to the school.

Pasero also thanked retiring board member Jamie Eggemeyer for his six years of service.

New security system

According to Pasero, a new security procedure which will be in place at the beginning of the new school year. All of the staff will receive identification badges to wear, identifying them to the public. The badge will also be used as access badges to the facilities.

Resignations, appointments

The board accepted resignations from:

• Paul Estel, volunteer bass fishing coach

• Joe Kassebaum, grade school head softball coach

• Steve Colonel, from the job of directing the high school musicals. He still remains at the high school in all his other capacities.

The board approved:

• Hiring Justin Davis as the new grade school softball coach.

• Bringing on Jeff Braun and Steve Mifflin as volunteer bass fishing coaches.

Budget hearing

The board adopted a resolution to abate $450,000 from the working cash fund to the education fund which makes the 2016 interfund loan permanent.

Members also adopted the resolution to place the 2018/19 Amended Budget of the school district on file and scheduled a the public hearing for 7 p.m. June 20, immediately before the next scheduled regular meeting of the board.