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Education

Refinancing by TPS saves taxpayers over $6M

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Toledo Public Schools' recent refinancing of construction bonds saved taxpayers more than $6 million, treasury officials said.

The district refunded earlier this month more than $52 million in voter approved bonds that helped finance Building for Success, a decade-long program that involved more than $600 million in renovation, rebuilding, and demolition of buildings. The move let the district reduce debt owed by taxpayers on the project from about $218.8 million to $212.7 million, according to data provided by Paul Overman, TPS treasury management director.

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The savings will go directly to property owners in slightly reduced tax payments, instead of into the district's general fund. Estimates before the refinancing placed the projected savings from as low as $3 million, based on interest rates.

"To see an immediate, tangible difference and benefit was a tremendous opportunity and feeling," interim treasurer Matt Cleland said. That tangible benefit won't exactly buy Toledoans yachts; the owner of a $100,000 home will save about $64 over the life of the bonds, most of which last till about 2025. There may be more taxpayer savings on the horizon, he said. The district can still refinance more than $140 million in additional construction bonds, about triple what was recently refinanced.

Beyond the construction bonds, property owners owe $56.7 million more in principal and interest through TPS because of a bond issue approved by voters in 2008 for building renovations. That bond issue helped pay for, among other things, the renovation of Scott High School, which will reopen Monday to students.

The district managed to receive the improved rates despite a recent downgrade in its credit rating, because it used a state credit enhancement program to refinance the debt with the state's credit rating.

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