Saving Money For Taxpayers

State School Building Authority officials appear to be mildly irritated with how the Marshall County school system is handling the financial aspect of a major improvement and renovation project.

There’s an excellent reason why local school officials are to be commended. Chances are they will save taxpayers money by moving more slowly than the SBA would like.

When the SBA agreed to provide about half the funding for a $16 million Marshall County project, it was with the understanding the school system would sell bonds to cover its share of the project.

Originally, school board members agreed to sell the bonds in June, but that was not done. Superintendent Michael Hince told board members this week the SBA is concerned Marshall County is not keeping to its end of the funding agreement.

Hince explained the delay is because conditions for selling bonds were unfavorable in June. The school system’s financial adviser recommended not going ahead with the sale then.

“That sent a mixed signal to the SBA. When you agree to something, you have to uphold it or they don’t have to fund you,” Hince reported of the state agency.

Local school officials intend to abide by the agreement, however. Hince said the plan is to sell bonds in November, when the market for them is better.

By delaying the sale, school officials may be able to obtain better terms, including lower interest rates, than they could have in June. That means the bonds, and thus the school improvement project, will cost Marshall County taxpayers less.

That makes the delay an excellent idea. SBA officials should be understanding about it – and we think Marshall County taxpayers will, too.