Board picks bid in bond sale

Liliana Castillo

The Clovis Municipal Schools received eight bids for the purchase of $8 million in general obligation bonds Tuesday.

The board officially accepted the bid with the lowest interest rate from The Baker Group and the Bank of Clovis during its regular meeting Tuesday evening after the bidding process took place Tuesday morning.

Financial advisor Kevin Powers said the school’s good bond rating of Aa3 — the highest is Aaa1 and the lowest is A3 — and the fact that the bonds were bank qualified helped the sale attract so many high quality bids. He also said that only local support could have attracted a 3.15 percent rate of interest.

With the interest rate, the district will pay $240,000 a year in interest. Powers said if the sale was scheduled for even six months ago, that cost would have been $360,000 a year.

The bonds will be paid off in August 2025.

Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley said the $8 million raised Tuesday, along with $6 million from a bond sale in 2008, will be used for construction at several schools with a rebuild of Marshall Middle School’s special education building breaking ground on Thursday.

Renovations and additions at La Casita Elementary will begin in February and work at the Arts Academy at Bella Vista will begin in March.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the board also recessed into executive session to discuss Superintendent Terry Myers’ evaluation and contract.

The board extended Myers’ contract for an additional year to June 30, 2014 with the same terms and conditions. When Myers was hired in July of last year, he was given a three-year contract with a base salary of $151,000.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the consent agenda including bills, activity report, investment report, budget and expenditure report, budget adjustments and bids and proposals for December.

Included were three requests for travel for the Marshall Middle School, Yucca Middle School and Clovis High School Freshman Academy dance teams to a contest March 11-12 in Santa Fe.

The consent agenda also included acceptance of New Mexico Public School Capital Outlay Council awards of money for roof repair and replacements. Awards included $1,122,513 for the CHS cafeteria and Rock Staubus Gym and $1,457,158 for CHS Freshman Academy.

• Approved the 2009-2010 district audit.

• Heard a report from the CMS Foundation update including grant awards of about $25,000 to six teacher proposals across the district.

• Recognized the PSFA’s 2010 Ben Lujan Award recipients from the district. Maintenance employees Gene Bieker, Henry Corder and Mark Robertson received the award. The district as a whole received a silver award for the generally good condition of the district’s buildings.

• Recognized Clovis residents Gary and Beverly Lockmiller for their donation of 10 acres for the new building for Lockwood Elementary. Lockmiller’s father donated land when the original Lockwood was built. The board also recognized Clovis businessman Sid Strebeck for his donation of land to the district for a new middle school.

• Recognized Terry Martin as the recipient of the New Mexico School Boards Association Exemplary Award for accruing 20 hours of mandated training in the 2009-2010 year.

• Discussed a timeline for the reorganization of the board. The board will hold a special session 5:30 p.m. March 1 to swear in new members and decide the organization of the board after the departure of Board President Mark Lansford and schoo board election Feb. 1.

• Approved a board policy allowing the superintendent the authority to accept gifts and donations made to the district or any school in the district under $10,000 on behalf of the board.

• Approved a contract for fleet service for 2010-2011 with Adair, Inc.

• Approved the removal of obsolete kitchen items which will be auctioned off.

• Approved the disposal of excess computers that were used for the Computer to Home program.

Chief Financial Officer Jose Cano said that the computers used in the program were usually not returned and because of that the program violated a federal statute that prohibits school districts from donating what is essentially public equipment.