The Big Lake School Board awarded the sale of $7.35 million in general obligation facilities maintenance bonds at its Thursday, Jan. 23 meeting.

The bond issue was awarded to Stifel, Nicholas of Birmingham, Alabama at 1.86 percent interest.

The bond will replace the current HVAC system, and update classroom lighting, flooring and ceilings in the 54-year-old Middle School. The new HVAC system will provide proper indoor air quality, be energy efficient, will address inconsistent temperature and humidity issues the building currently faces, and will provide air conditioning throughout the learning spaces since only a few classrooms now have A/C.Specific projects will be decided at their February meeting.Senior Municipal Advisor Shelby McQuay of school district financial adviser Ehlers, Inc., enthusiastically presented the low bid, a savings of $760,000 in interest over the 15 years compared to the pre-bond estimate of 2.7 percent.  

Director of Business Services Angie Manual noted that this was the lowest interest rate the school district has received during her tenure. Board member Dan Nygaard added that this will reduce future property taxes for the residents.

In other school board news...

• Kim Nagorski and Sarah Krumwiede shared the initial success of their assessment training to help juniors prepare for MCA/ACT tests in English, math and science. The first two classes had 36 students attending while seven more classes remain. Tests results from those taking the classes will be tracked.  Nygaard asked about allowing sophomores while student representative Kyla Scheer wondered about seniors.  Both will be considered next year.

• Board approved the 2020-21 budget parameters which includes student enrollment at 3,124 (22 students higher than this year), $6,567 general education aid per student and higher kindergarten classes.  The fund balance is projected to be at least $5.3 million.

• Superintendent Steve Westerberg announced the first school district newsletter was mailed to all residents of the school district and welcomes any suggestions.

• In a work session prior to the regular board meeting, the board reviewed process for their search for a new superintendent. Chair Tonya Reasoner encouraged all residents to complete the survey found under district news on the “About” page of the school district website by Feb. 7.

• Newly-elected chair Tonya Reasoner wrapped up her first board meeting in 40 minutes.

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