- Paying $56 Million to Borrow $4 Million: School District Capital Appreciation Bonds in Humboldt County
- McKinleyville Union Superintendent on His District’s Capital Appreciation Bonds
The McKinleyville Union School District will hold a special meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 20) at the ungodly hour of 7:15 a.m., in order to vote on the refinancing of the hugeous bonds it took out a few years ago.
Back in 2012, the district issued $7 million in bond debt, a little over $4 million of which was in the form of slow-repaying “capital appreciation bonds,” which have since become something of a statewide scandal. The total debt to district property owners incurred by those bonds was a whopping $56 million, spread out over 40 years.
At the special meeting tomorrow morning, the district will be looking at refinancing options that could knock between $11 million and $17 million off of the $56 million it now owes.
There are three different refinancing options on the table, and each of them would involve some combination of lower property taxes and faster repayment. (See a chart comparing the three options here.) District staff is recommending a plan that would reduce the district’s outstanding CAB obligations from $53.1 million to $39 million, while at the same time knocking down estimated property tax assessments through 2050 by about 13 percent.
“It’s something the district needed to do to move forward,” McK Union Superintendent Michael Davies-Hughes told the Outpost this morning, referring to the original, high-interest CAB bonds. “[But] the commitment that the board made was, look, we’re going to continue to monitor this, and when the time is right, we will look at refinancing these bonds.”
The time is now – and while paying $39 million for $4 million still may not be ideal, it’s inarguably better than the alternative. That’s tomorrow at 7:15 a.m. at the Azalea Conference Center – 2285 Central Ave., McKinleyville.