Patrons and faculty of Butler County USD 206 (Remington-Whitewater) received some unexpected good news recently, as members of the Board of Education were informed at their meeting last week that some costs associated with the current bond issue — approved earlier this year — would be lower than estimated.

USD 206 requested the authority to issue $9.975 million in general obligation bonds to finance the proposed capital improvements to Remington schools, including an elementary school in Potwin, a middle school in Whitewater and a high school in rural Whitewater.

Improvements coming to the schools as part of the bond include controlled-access entrances (as well as storm shelters) and gym improvements for all three schools, while the elementary school will see the construction of a new music room, the middle school will be getting a new media center and the high school has plans for a new multi-purpose room.

The district applied and received a credit rating for their bonds from Standard and Poor’s of A1 with a stable outlook and had four purchase bids for the BOE to review at its most recent meeting — all coming in well below the estimated pre-election interest rate of 4.5 percent (developed in the fall of 2018 when interest rates were rising due to Federal Reserve Board actions to raise interest rates, which were later reversed). The BOE accepted the bid for bond purchase from Robert W. Baird & Company with a true interest cost of 3.2279 percent.

What that means is some relief for taxpayers in USD 206. Pre-election estimates were for a net increase in the bond and interest mill levy of 7.9 mills. The lower interest rate will result in an estimated bond and interest rate of 6.37 mills — more than 1.5 mills less than the original estimate. Each mill is $1 of tax on each $1,000 of assessed value of property in the District. The reduced mill levy represents a reduction in taxes on a $100,000 home of $17.25 per year.

Lower rates on the bonds will result in the financing of more than $2.2 million less interest than the original pre-election estimate.

"We are pleasantly surprised that the market changed course and resulted in a financing that will reduce the district mill rate (below the estimate) and save taxpayers significant interest," said Bret Shogren, First Vice President with George K. Baum and Company (district financial advisors).

Now that the purchase of bonds has been approved, the bonds will be printed, a transcript sent to the Kansas Attorney General and the district will receive the final proceeds of the bond sale on May 15.