The Pine River-Backus School Board took advantage of lower interest rates to refund its $4.26 million general obligations bond that financed the 2012 Early Childhood Family Education addition, athletic and multipurpose addition to the high school and the bus garage projects.

The refunding process is basically a form of refinancing. In agreeing to refinance, the district will improve its interest rate from 3% to 1.4%, which will mean a cost savings of $212,000 from 2021 to 2031.

The savings will apply to future levies. It does not extend the length of the bonds. This was part of a pre-scheduled call date built into the original bond.

The board also approved a preliminary tax levy. In keeping with past years, the district agreed to approve the maximum levy in September with the option of selecting a lower final levy in December. Because units of government may lower their levy after choosing a preliminary levy, but not increase it, the district has traditionally chosen the maximum levy in September in order to allow for security against major changes to the budget before the final levy is certified.

This year the maximum levy is $1,775,422.85, a 3.74% ($64,033.91) increase over the 2020 levy. In documents presented to the board, the largest increases were in the local optional revenue ($30,502.97), operating capital ($17,994.60) and reemployment ($13,097.59).

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In other business Monday, the board:

  • Hired Tim Ramler as boys cross country coach, Nicole Smith as health aide, Jordan Ackerman as girls cross country coach, Timothy Tungseth as activities director and youth sports coordinator, Ariana Schendel as long-term substitute teacher, Lloyd Oney as bus driver, Lori Kish as bus driver, Tom Bristow as mechanic and Aimee Wilson as student council adviser.
  • Accepted the resignation of Kimberly Norman, ECFE parent and family educator; Katherine Hulke as paraprofessional; Jacob Mongan as dean of students; Kari Behun as paraprofessional; and Anna Ames as vocal music teacher.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.