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Parkland School Board eyes over $600,000 in savings through bond refinancing

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - The Parkland School Board in Lehigh County is seeking to reap more than $600,000 in savings through yet another bond refinancing plan.

"At this time we have used the refunding process very well" said John Vignone, director of business administration for the district. "We are here tonight to look at a parameters resolution that could save a nice chunk of money for the district."

The parameters passed at this Tuesday's board meeting will set the baseline value for negotiation that Parkland seeks to gain through the refinancing of their 2005 Series-A bonds, an approach that several other regional districts have also been using to cut costs.

"This is a relatively short transaction" said financial advisor Scott Shearer. "Because of the extremely low interest environment we're in we're still seeing good savings."

Shearer had originally recommended a $500,000 benchmark, but under the advisement of the Parkland financial team the board opted for the more ambitious $600,000 mark.

"We can certainly live with the $500,000," said Vignone. "Our recommendation would be $600,000 required savings…that would be the highest number we could live with."

The board ultimately opted for the latter figure, citing the favorable market direction as a primary cause for optimism.

"We've been extremely successful in the past and that encompasses a level of trust with our fiscal team" said board member Robert Cohen. "If our team is recommending $600,000 we should follow that."

Board members stressed that this figure is the anticipated minimum value in savings, and that they hoped to attain even more from the transaction.

When asked how confident he felt that the district could get that higher figure in savings, advisor Scott Shearer simply replied "very confident."

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