Superintendent wants transparency in bond sale

Liliana Castillo

The Clovis Municipal Schools sale of $8 million worth of bonds is slated for Tuesday.

Proceeds are the district’s share of money needed for construction projects.

Superintendent Terry Myers said school bond sales are always open to the public but he has a special desire for the public to know when money raised in a $16 million August bond issue election is spent or bonds are sold.

“We want everyone to be informed of when we sell bond money or what we use it on,” Myers said. “This is part of our efforts to provide transparency for everyone.”

The 11 a.m. Tuesday bond sale can be monitored by anyone at the CMS administration building board room.

Kevin Powers, financial advisor to the district, said that the sale is a competitive process. Anyone who is interested in buying the bonds and can make a good-faith deposit, can submit a sealed bid physically or on a secure website. Powers said that all bids are sealed until 11 a.m.

Powers said bidders on bond sales are typically brokerage firms or banking institutions or a combination of such entities.

Powers said considering market conditions, he’s expecting between four and eight bids.

Powers said bidders specify the rate of interest the district will pay. He said the district’s goal is to keep interest costs as low as possible.

Powers said the district is in good standing with past bonds, giving them a good bond rating. Also, the $8 million headed for the sale floor are bank qualified bonds, making them more attractive to banks, which often translates into lower interest rates.

Powers said he expects the sale to attract a national pool of potential investors.

“This is a competitive situation. The more bids we receive the better off we are,” Powers said.

Joel Shirley, the district’s deputy superintendent of operations, said the $8 million raised on Tuesday and $6 million remaining from a past bond sale will be used for construction at seven district schools. The estimates for each project are:

• $3 million in construction at the Arts Academy at Bella Vista

• $1.5 million in construction at La Casita Elementary School

• $1.5 million in construction at Marshall Middle School

• $690,000 in design costs for Lockwood Elementary School

• $535,000 in design costs for James Bickley Elementary School

• $1.7 million in design costs for a new middle school

Powers said the district will have money generated from the sale in hand about March 1.

After the 11 a.m. sale, the board will formally receive their bid of choice at the board meeting 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Then, Powers said, a notice must be published for 30 days.