High School District Refinancing Reaps Savings for Taxpayers

January 16, 2018

The west county high school district has refinanced almost $6 million in general obligation bonds, saving property taxpayers about $148,000.

School district superintendent Steven Kellner said the district was able to refinance a large portion of the $23 million bond issue approved by voters in 2010 as part of a school facilities improvements package.  The bond issued has funded energy-saving solar panels at El Molino and Analy high schools, tennis court renovation and athletic improvements at both schools, a band room at Analy and performing arts center at El Molino, which starts construction this year.

The effect of the savings will show up in the portion of 2018 property taxes levied by the West Sonoma County Union High School District.

The transaction closed on December 28th, just days before new restrictions being imposed on public entities refinancing bonds under one of the little known provisions of the new federal tax overhaul took effect.

“It is one of the measures that either prohibits or severely limits the ability of the public entity like this school district from achieving savings by getting lower interest rates on general obligation bonds,” Kellner said.  “We were happy to do it, but unfortunately we may never be able to do it again.”

Kellner said the district’s financial consultants advised refinancing in 2017 because the new federal tax law appears to require an election by voters from now on for bond refinancing.  “An expensive election might wipe out any savings the district would achieve, so we looked at the rate and decided to save property taxpayers money right now,” Kellner said.

The five-member school board approved the resolution authorizing the refinancing transaction at its November 15th meeting.


By: Bleys Rose, Sonoma West editor, b.rose@sonomwest.com  Jan. 15, 2018