DALLAS -- The Crowley, Tex., Independent School District yesterday priced a $40.7 million issue after deciding not to wait to see if its bonds would be backed by the Texas Permanent School Fund under new rules expanding the state-run guarantee program.

Even though the low-cost state backing would have saved an estimated $900,000 over the 25-year life of the bonds, district officials opted instead to sell the bonds with credit enhancement from Financial Guaranty Insurance Co.

Under a rule change adopted last weekend, the Texas Education Agency is expected to provide a Permanent School Fund guarantee for refundings that do not result in immediate savings -- a major policy shift.

On Tuesday, district officials said they might delay their sale until early August, when the agency is expected to draft guidelines for administering the new rules. But yesterday, an investment banker at Southwest Securities Inc. in Dallas, the lead underwriter in the deal, said the district did not want to risk higher interest costs by waiting.

"The market has already weakened from the first of the week," the official said.

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