SIKESTON -- Taking advantage of low rates, the Sikeston R-6 Board of Education approved the sale of all of its $4.53 million general obligation bonds during its regular meeting Tuesday.
Shortly after the success of the April 5 election, the district's financial service, Piper Jaffray & Co., and district officials discussed whether to move forward or wait to sell the bonds, recalled Michelle Bock of Piper & Jaffray.
"With the rate environment so low right now -- although the expectation is that rates are going to go up -- we thought it would be wise to go ahead and borrow the money now to get those low rates locked in," Bock said. "And then you would be able to move on down the road and build your project."
Documents were drafted by Gilmore & Bell P.C. and preliminary official statements were sent to several prospective buyers, Bock said.
On Tuesday morning Bock and another Piper & Jaffray representative received feedback from potential buyers.
"We had very wonderful interest from lots of different buyers -- the majority of which were banks, and we were actually able to lower the rates from what we had talked about earlier, especially in the longer end of the schedule," Bock said.
Bonds were sold at yields ranging from 2.7 percent in 2006 to 4.28 percent in 2024. Most of the bonds were sold at a premium, which means the bonds hold their value better. The all-inclusive rate was 4.4 percent.
Bock noted more than 50 percent of the bonds went to local banks with the remaining going to other banks and smaller retail customers and trust companies. But approximately 90-95 percent of the issue went to banks.
"We're thrilled," Bock said. "The timing was really great. The market was wonderful, and the response was really good."
Bock also noted even though this bond issue is part of the Missouri Direct Deposit Program, there was also an underlying rating of the district.
"What that means to us -- as marketers of your bond-- is it differentiates issues from potential other ones. And the underlying rating of the district is an A-2, which is really great," Bock told the board.
Bock said the rating is really meaningful because outside people in Chicago and New York are the ones who determine the ratings. And to score a rating, they look at the district's financial situation, the management, the particular project, and in general, the demographic and economic situation of the area, she said.
In other business Tuesday, the district's A+ Program Coordinator John Wesemann noted 37 seniors are on track to receive the A+ Recognition Scholarships offered by four-year colleges in Missouri. The scholarships are valued at $4,000. At least 12 seniors are planning to use the benefits at this time, but they have four years to use the funds.
In order to be eligible for tuition assistance, students must attend an A+ school for three years, maintain a 95 percent attendance record, maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, perform 50 hours of unpaid tutoring in their school district and have a record of good citizenship. Currently 243 students grades 9-12 are enrolled in the program.
High School Principal Tom Williams noted graduation procedures are moving along. Each senior will receive 10 tickets for graduation, which is set for 7 p.m. May 24 at the Sikeston Field House. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the bleachers will be monitored. The last day of school is set for May 27 with finals planned for May 25-27.