Refinance could save high school district taxpayers more than $6 million


Taxpayers could save more than $6 million if interest rates remain low until the Sequoia Union High School District can carry through with a bond refinancing approved by the district's board when it met on Jan. 14.

Consultant Tony Hsieh of Keygent Advisors said refinancing two series of bonds sold by the district in 2005 and 2008 could save the district as much as $6.2 million in interest, even after paying all the costs of the refinancing.

While $6.2 million is a large amount of money, the savings to individual taxpayers are relatively modest. Mr. Hsieh said the savings will be 54 cents a year per $100,000 of assessed value, or $5.40 for a property appraised at $1 million.

School board member Chris Thomsen asked if the district could keep the $6.2 million and use it for needed projects. "The savings to individual homeowners is pretty small," he said.

While Mr. Hsieh said it could be possible for the district to retain the money saved by refinancing, the idea did not have much support from other board members. "It feels to me like it would be a bait and switch on behalf of our students," said board member Alan Sarver.

The district has refinanced bonds on seven previous occasions, Mr. Hsieh's report said, saving taxpayers approximately $25.5 million.

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