Feb. 8, 2016
Decisions made by HPISD Board of Trustees are paying off for taxpayers
Kelly Walker, HPISD Trustee
By Kelly Walker
HPISD Finance Officer

With the passage of the 2015 bond election and an opportunity to refinance remaining bonds from the 2008 bond program, these are busy but productive times for both the Highland Park ISD Board of Trustees and the Board's Finance Committee, which advises the board on financial matters. I am thrilled to report that our combined efforts during the last few months have saved taxpayers millions of dollars with the potential to save even more.
In December, following months of discussion to determine just the right time to maximize savings, the district refinanced $53 million of bonds remaining from the 2008 election. The refinancing will result in a net savings to taxpayers of more than $7.2 million over the life of the bonds - millions more than what was initially projected.
The timing of the refinancing was critical since interest rates were raised two days later. The end result is that the district will save $600,000 in interest each year for 13 years, equating to about half a cent on HPISD's tax rate.
Even better news is that we're not finished saving taxpayer dollars yet. In an effort to take advantage of 50-year lows in the bond market and the district's strong bond rating, the board has authorized the district to sell $225 million in bonds in February. This will allow work to begin in earnest on construction projects approved by voters during the November 2015 election. While the sale has yet to occur, we are confident that taxpayers will pay less than what was initially projected during the fall to fund the new schools and renovations.
I would like to thank my fellow trustees for their work in both fulfilling our commitment to improve district facilities and for looking out for the interests of taxpayers. Moreover, I sincerely appreciate the considerable expertise from members of the Finance Committee in advising the board on the best course of action. In addition to HPISD trustees, this committee includes eight volunteers from the community, all of whom have extensive experience in the financial sector. Their time and input has already proven extremely valuable and I look forward to continuing to update you on even more progress.

Kelly Walker has served on the HPISD Board of Trustees since 2010, and she is the current Finance Officer. She previously served as the Chair to the Board Facilities Committee.