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School district to sell $10 million in bonds

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By Jesef Williams

The Lancaster County School District will soon sell bonds that will bring in nearly $10 million to help pay off a loan that was used to complete major school projects over the last few years.

The school board voted 6-0 at its July 29 meeting to sell general obligation bonds that will total $7.8 million. Board member Mary Etta Taylor was absent.

The resolution also includes the sale of $1.9 million in bond anticipation notes, which won't be issued until 2009.

The general obligation bonds will be sold this month, said Lancaster County School District finance director Tony Walker. The district sells such bonds every year, which are typically bought by banks or similar financial institutions.

"It's becoming an ordinary part of our process," Walker said.

In 2004, the school district entered into a $70 million installment purchase plan with Lancaster Educational Assistance Program Inc., or LEAP.

That plan funded the construction of the new Indian Land High School, major renovations to three other schools and upgrades to the district's athletic facilities.

Since then, the district has been making payments to LEAP every year. For 2008, the payment is $3,386,000, Walker said.

The district expects to have paid off the loan by 2029. Until that time, the payment amount will increase each year.

The $7.8 million bonds are covered under the district's debt service budget for the 2008-2009 school year, Walker said. The $1.9 million will be part of the budget the following year.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152