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Starkville schools ask for $3M federal loan


Bonnie Coblentz



STARKVILLE -- It took less than three minutes for the Starkville school board to pass a resolution that may save them almost $1 million on an interest-free $3 million loan. 


The board met in a special called session Tuesday afternoon to handle just one item of business. The meeting was called Monday evening after Superintendent Judy Couey received word after 5 p.m. that day of the availability of federal stimulus package money. 


"The State Board of Education chose to allot the calendar year 2009 allocation of $132 million on a first-come-first-serve basis," the letter from the state Department of Education states. 


Acting quickly, the board unanimously passed a resolution stating their intent to issue interest-free qualified school construction bonds of $3 million, the maximum allowed for them to request. Bill Weeks made the motion, which was seconded by Keith Coble. Board member Pickett Wilson was absent. 


The $3 million the board applied for is part of what would have been the third phase of the $26.5 million bond issue voters approved in 2007. If the full $3 million is approved, the board soon will issue the remaining $8.6 million in a final, interest-bearing loan. 


Comptroller Rob Logan was instructed to apply for the 15-year loan immediately after the meeting. The current interest rate is about 3.9 percent for a 15-year loan, so the district would save about $960,000 if it receives this interest-free loan. 


The loan is not guaranteed to be given to the district, and Walter Taylor asked for Logan''s estimate of the district''s chances of receiving the loan. 


"I would say they''re pretty good," he said.




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