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March 4, 2003

Special Annual Meeting slated for property purchase

District residents will have an opportunity to vote on a proposal to purchase approximately 73 acres of land in the southern portion of the district for future school needs.

The School Board took action to establish the Special Annual meeting. The property, known as the Fleisner farm, is located on Silver Spring Road between Marcy Road and One Mile Road. The district plans to purchase about 73 acres at a cost of $2 million dollars. Five acres of homestead will be maintained by the Fleisner family. The School Board is working proactively to ensure that land is available for future building needs as development continues to occur in the community.

State law requires that voters approve land purchase at a special annual meeting. The meeting will be held on March 25, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Hamilton High School, W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex.

Money for the purchase will come from funds generated by previous property sale.

Hamilton students recognized

Hamilton School Board members recognized 50 high school seniors for their outstanding educational achievements. The students were honored for their participation in the Academic Decathlon team, high performance on the ACT, selection for the 2003 Kohl Excellence Scholarship Program or Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship. Hamilton Principal David Furrer noted that 18 percent of the Hamilton students who took the ACT had scores that were in the top 10 percent in the nation.

School Board borrows money for referendum projects

With successful passage of its referendum, the School Board completed financing for the projects. Community members voted Nov. 5 to allow the district to borrow $6.85 million for a Marcy Elementary School addition-renovation project and $6.75 million for a Hamilton High School fine arts-learning center addition that would include an auditorium.

The first $10 million of the loan was taken out in December as a short-term Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) at the low interest rate of 1.75 percent. That amount was refinanced into a long-term loan at a rate of 4.07 percent for 20 years. The remaining $3.6 million was borrowed in February at a 3.41 percent interest rate for 10 years.

Issuing the bonds in two separate years allowed the district to further keep interest costs down. By keeping the loan amounts at $10 million or less each year, the district was able to offer “bank-qualified” bonds that allow a larger, more competitive pool of financial institutions to bid on the bonds.

The district learned that Moody’s Investor Services affirmed its high Aa2 rating for long-term borrows and assigned the top MIG 1 rating for short-term loans. The higher the Moody’s rating, the lower the interest rate.

In its report, Moody’s wrote, ” . . . the district’s financial position will remain strong due to prudent management and steady enrollment growth.”

The district will save about $3 million in interest payments for recently approved referendum projects thanks to excellent Moody’s financial ratings.

The district’s Aa2 rating is the third highest among 16 ratings that Moody’s Investors Service gives. Since 1995 the Hamilton School District has been among an elite group of schools in the state to earn a double A bond rating.

The district’s healthy financial ratings will save taxpayers money in interest payments, but will not have an impact on the operational budget which is limited by state revenue caps.

School officials have begun working with architects and engineers on the construction projects that are expected to be out for bid in the spring. The Marcy project is anticipated to begin in April, with the high school project starting in June. Both projects are expected to be completed in September 2004.

OmniTech contract extended

A 3-year contract with OmniTech for computer support and network services was approved. Fees will increase one percent in each of the three years and the company will provide two full-time employees to deliver services.