Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A first look at schematic designs for new middle schools

The Board of Education and the community has had their first peek at the schematic designs for the new North and Central Middle Schools.  A schematic design defines the general scope and concept of the project including scale and relationships to other building components. The two middle schools are being planned using prototype designs.  This means the basic buildings will be the same with minor changes to accommodate the unique aspects of each campus.  The exterior materials, interior colors and other materials will vary to give each school its own identity and complement existing structures on each campus.   Click here to see the PowerPoint presentation to the Board of Education at the May 17, 2016 meeting.

Planning will now move into the design development stage in which more specific plans and details will be worked out. Advisory groups will continue to meet in the phase to provide input and insight. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Portage Public School's Bonds Well Received by Bond Market.

The Board of Education of the Portage Public Schools is proud to announce the successful sale of its 2016 School Building and Site and Refunding Bonds in the amount of $144,805,000.  A portion of the bond issue, in the amount of $72,310,000, will be used to finance the first projects approved by the voters on November 3, 2015.  The remainder of the bond issue, in the amount of $72,495,000, will be used for the purpose of refunding all of the School District’s outstanding 2008 School Building and Site Bonds.  The refunding portion of this issue will reduce the School District's interest expense by approximately $13,670,147.
In preparing to sell the 2016 School Building and Site and Refunding Bonds, the School District, working with its financial advisor, H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, requested that Standard & Poors Ratings Services ("S&P") evaluate the School District's credit quality.  S&P assigned the School District’s rating of "AA-" with a stable outlook.  The rating agency cited the School District's strong incomes and good financial management practices in their rationale for rating the School District.

“We had a great team working on this project”, said Mark Bielang, Superintendent of Portage Public Schools, “We are pleased that the way the bonds were structured, priced and sold leverages the taxpayers investment in Portage Public Schools and allows us to focus on achieving the best outcomes for our students.”

The School District's financing was conducted by the Michigan investment banking office of the brokerage firm, Stifel, the financial advising firm, H.J. Umbaugh & Associates and the law firm serving as bond counsel, Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C.  The School District's 2016 School Building and Site and Refunding Bonds were sold at a combined true interest rate of 2.90% with a final maturity of 2040 (a repayment term of approximately 24 years).

Jeffrey Zylstra, Managing Director with Stifel states the, "Portage Public Schools' Bonds were very well received by the bond market.  We were able to take advantage of current low interest rates that met the goals of the District and provided a lower cost of borrowing than originally anticipated.