By Carolyn Roy
It was a good week for the Natchitoches Parish School Board as far as bond sales go. Toby Cortez told board members Tuesday during a committee meeting that his company sold bonds for BRE District 7 at an interest rate of 3.01 percent for 20 years. The bonds to finance the $10 million maintenance projects at Lakeview, Fairview and Goldonna schools were sold Tuesday. Cortez is a director of Stifel’s, the top bond underwriter for K-12 public school districts. He said the interest rates had dropped .01 percent Tuesday before the bonds were sold. The bonds will be delivered to the buyer Nov. 30 in New Orleans. In another finance issue, the board discussed whether to put the bond issue for BRE District 9 schools on the ballot again in April.
The bond issue to finance improvements and maintenance to City schools has failed twice, the last time in October by only eight votes. Board member Emile Metoyer spoke against putting the bond issue on an April ballot because there will be no other propositions on the ballot and the school board alone will bear the cost of the election, $45,000. Metoyer said he was not against putting it on another ballot but wanted to wait until a general election in October when the costs will be significantly less.
That cost is unknown at this time. Metoyer said the board had struggled to balance its budget and waiting until October would be a good move financially. Board members Tommy Melder and Rhonda Guidroz favored putting the proposition on the April ballot stating that construction costs could rise significantly from April to October. Melder said the schools needed immediate upgrading. The vote on whether to put the issue on the April ballot was to have come at the board meeting Thursday.
The only travel item on the agenda was for a Natchitoches Central math teacher, Kerry Braden, to chaperone approximately 50 African American History Club members to visit the Civil Rights Museum and other historic landmarks in Washington, D.C.
The trip will be at no cost to the board. The board will vote on whether to advertise for bids on a walk-in cooler at Goldonna, tilting skillets at Lakeview and Provencal, steam kettle at Marthaville, walk-in freezer at NCHS and two steamers for Natchitoches Magnet and Weaver.