Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Joplin R-8 Board votes to borrow $28 million to finish buildings project
The district borrowed $37 million in August to meet cash flow needs and pay building contractors. The new amount includes $14.15 million to pay off that debt and $14.2 million to "complete invoice payments to building contractors."
CFO Paul Barr said the debt will be paid back through $30.4 million the district expects to receive from SEMA, FEMA, and other agencies. Barr said he was confident that money would be received, though he has also indicated in the past that the district's request include money for items that were not approved by the state and federal agencies, including $4,079,345 for FEMA 404 Safe Rooms, $20,213,105 from FEMA and SEMA, $3,115,000 on SEMA 10 percent reimbursement, and $3 million from an Economic Development Administration equipment grant.
This was how the EDA described that $3 million grant in 2013:
Earlier this year, EDA also invested $3 million in Joplin to support the rebuilding and equipping of the Franklin Technology Center. Operated by the Joplin School District, the Franklin Technology Center will provide skills training to students in the school system, as well as specialized training to adults already in the workforce, allowing for the enhancement of the career training program focused on manufacturing and technology.
This project is part of a $200 million appropriation made by Congress to EDA to help communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011 with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support.
Most of the grant was used for audio-visual equipment, including the jumbotron type device (video scoreboard) in the Joplin High School gymnasium
The Board approved a financing proposal from Bank of America which would have to be paid in full by June 1, 2016. By doing it this way, Barr said, the district will save $167,392 in interest.
Superintendent C. J. Huff indicated he thought the district had done a great job with the building project, but with so little information to go on when the April 2012 bond issue was planned, they had no idea that the budget would need to be increased by a considerable amount.