Exeter Schools to save district over $100,000

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Funds will help district with expenses over long haul

The Exeter school district and Security Bank recently struck an agreement that will save the district $115,000 in interest over a 12-year period for a loan that was taken out in 2007 to make improvements to the school building.

In 2007, after a bond issue was passed by voters, the district set out to use funds to add onto its existing building to create a cafeteria, kitchen, gymnasium and multi-purpose area, which now serves as cafeteria, stage and gym. Other projects included creating an entryway, replacing windows to make the building more efficient with heating and cooling, and general maintenance.

"We took care of roofing needs at same time so everything would age out and be ready for the next capital project that came up," said Ernest Raney, Exeter superintendent.

Total cost for the project came in at $2.2 million, and projects took almost two years to complete.

"The voters approved a bond issue for the district, and they went forward with the building project and were able to accomplish a great deal of improvement," Raney said. "It's really increased the pride in the school. When you walk into the school and see the work that's been done, it is really pretty. And makes the kids proud to be a part of that."

In 2007, interest rates were 4.45 to 4.75 percent, Raney said, but now, are at an all-time low of only 2.3 percent.

"So, we looked at what it would take to refinance the lease at this time and see what type of savings we could get," he said. "Security Bank offered us 2.3 percent. It's going to save the district over the life of the least about $115,000. That's just wonderful. They've been really good to us, and we really appreciate what they've done to help us. We're in the process of finalizing it.

"We could certainly use the savings to the district. It will help our operations and keep everything running well. It was good timing and good for our district. We made adjustments when it made sense, and it made sense to do this now for the district. With a $115,000 savings, it certainly is a great thing for our district."

Raney said this amount of savings will help the district with ongoing expenses, such as maintaining good staff and operational costs that continue to rise, such as insurance and other expenditures.

"This helps offset those additional costs each year and absorb those a little more easily," he said. "And, it helps us be better stewards of our taxpayers' money."

Raney said he treats the school's budget and needs as if they were his own.

"You have to look at it in a wise and considerate manner, as if it were your own," he said. "People say, 'Well, it's not mine,' but it is. It's ours and everyone's. It's ours as a community. So we all want to make sure we take care of this place to the best of our ability. Teachers make the difference with our kids and support is everything. It takes money to make that all happen.

"And, the more we can safeguard those teachers and classrooms, it gives us the confidence we need as costs rise to keep everything working well. We're proud of our teachers, parents and kids and everything this community represents. It's a great community."

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