Mt. Vernon Register-News

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December 24, 2013

High school views funding options

MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Township High School officials are investigating multiple options for raising more revenue in light of cost overruns with the new school project.

The main alternatives include issuing $4 million in remaining par amount bonds, extending the district’s tax cap borrowing for up to 20 years or selling alternate revenue bonds.

Whether the district pursues any of these options will depend on if or how much funding is needed for the new school project, said Superintendent Michael Smith.

Smith said he expects a decision to be made on the funding options by the end of January, after the MVTHS Board of Education has had further meetings with FGM Architects.

“Until we get this whole bid thing sorted out, we won’t know if or how many of either of them (to choose),” Smith said.

As it stands now, the project is about $6 million over budget, due to construction bids coming in higher than anticipated in several work categories.

District consultants have developed roughly $3.5 million in cost-saving measures that would help offset the budget overrun if implemented. Even with the measures, though, the project would still be about $2.5 million over budget.

The McCarthy firm has been working with the contractors who submitted bids to come up with ways to cut costs. Some of these measures involve the use of different construction materials.

However, it’s possible FGM Architects will have to redesign portions of the school to reduce the cost, which would require a rebidding of some of the work categories.

Tim King, the school district’s financial adviser, made a presentation on the funding options at last Thursday’s special meeting of the MVTHS Board.

King said his remarks were intended to inform the district about its options, not to favor one choice over another.

“At this point, I’m just providing information,” King said. “There’s no right or wrong. It’s whatever the board thinks makes the most sense.”

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