Big Spring Independent School District officials still have some construction bonds to sell. How they will sell the bonds has become a matter for discussion.
In September, BSISD trustees decided to hold off on selling almost $7 million of the $63 million in construction bonds authorized by voters. The unsold amount, which totaled $6.7 million, was held in abeyance to see if it could qualify under a special federal program which features extra-low interest rates.
The program, Qualified School Construction Bonds, would allow the district to pay back the bonds at interests near 0 percent, said Vince Vialle, an investment banker with the Lubbock firm of Specialized Public Financing, which has advised the district during the bond-selling process.
Despite the low rates, there are some strings attached to the federal program.
â€śStrictly from an interest rate standpoint, it would be advantageous to go with QSCB,â€ť Vialle said. â€śHowever, we don't know if the district would qualify for QSCB until March, and there would be strings attached. For starters, the district would have to guarantee that construction â€¦ would comply with federal guidelines (meaning wages would have to fit under a certain schedule and certain construction materials would have to be purchased) and that could have a negative impact on the cost of the projects.â€ť
Another option for the district has appeared, however. With interest rates near all-time low levels, Vialle said the district could simply sell the $6.7 million in bonds on the open market.