LOS ANGELES - A Utah school district set a state record Tuesday for the largest successful school bond election - $115 million - and expects to issue $75 million of the debt by early next month.
The Jordan School District, based in Sandy just south of Salt Lake City, gained whopping voter acceptance of almost 70% for the general obligation bonds. Approval required a simple majority.
Bond proceeds will finance construction of two high schools, two middle schools, and two elementary schools, and also provide for the refurbishment of 33 existing schools.
A $75 million GO sale is planned for early December, said James Matsumori, vice president of Smith Capital Markets, the district's financial adviser. Dougherty, Dawkins, Strand & Bigelow Inc. will serve as lead manager if the district elects to sell that deal on a negotiated basis, Matsumori said.
The $40 million balance from the new authorization likely will come to market in 1995, he added.
A market participant in Utah said he believed the next largest school district bond authorization also was set by the Jordan district, citing a $45 million election in 1977. The market source added, however, that he might not have a definitive listing of past authorizations.
Enrollment growth and the need to refurbish aging facilities drove the need for the bonds, said C. Devon Sanderson, the district's business administrator.
The Jordan district, which serves 69,000 students, has added 6,000 to its enrollment in the last four years, Sanderson said.
In addition, the district faces renovation needs because the average life of its facilities exceeds 22 years, he noted.
Various capital outlay planning committees identified construction and repair needs totaling $208 million, but they recommended funding only a portion of the projects based on a priority ranking.
Some of the improvements that were not included in Tuesday's bond proposal might be completed on a pay-as-you-go basis as money becomes available, according to the district.
The Jordan district has about $29 million of existing GO bonds, which will be paid off by 1996, Matsumori said. The district is studying whether to refund and restructure part of that debt during the December sale, partly to extend maturities so they dovetail with the new bonds, he explained.
Moody's Investors Service rates the district's general obligation bonds Aa.
The new bonds will be repaid within 15 years from the date of sale, according to terms of the ballot proposition. Property taxes are expected to rise about $25 annually on a home with a $75,000 market value to cover the bond payments.
In addition to the construction plans, the district will continue using such makeshift options as double sessions and portable classrooms to ensure full utilization of existing schools.
More than half of the district's elementary students already operate on year-round schedules. The district houses about 4,500 students in 151 portable classrooms.
District officials say they could easily fill a new school each year for another decade or more. Reports show that 116 new subdivisions and 3,879 housing starts are currently planned within the district's boundaries, according to school officials.