Santa Maria School District Bond Refinancing to Save Taxpayers $6.3 Million | Education

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District has refinanced a significant portion of its general obligation with a historically low interest rate, which is expected to result in property tax savings of $6.3 million for local ratepayers.

District leaders finalized the sale in December of the remaining $67 million authorized for the 2013 Measure C2004 bond, and also redeemed outstanding bonds from the early 2000s.

Khushroo Gharaya of CFW Financial Services, which managed the sale, said domestic investors were impressed with the district’s financial management and improved their credit ratings as a result. This, along with lower than expected interest rates due to the omicron variant, resulted in the district earning an interest rate of 2.6% rather than the expected rate of 4.3%.

“I’ve been in this business for almost 30 years, and this is one of the lowest rates I’ve seen for a school bond sale in the state of California,” Gharaya said.

District officials expressed their gratitude to community members for supporting needed projects at local high schools.

“We greatly appreciate the support our schools receive from our community, and we are pleased that this refinancing will save our local ratepayers over $6 million,” said Yolanda Ortiz, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.

District Council Chairman Jack Garvin said the tax savings come at a good time as many families struggle to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The council’s action reflects our continued commitment to protecting our ratepayers. We are pleased that this action benefits our residents, especially during this difficult time for many of our families,” said Garvin.

Other business from Wednesday’s board meeting included approving a contract with consulting firm Zeste Branding and Marketing to develop a new logo and branding for the district. At the next council meeting on January 18, members will hold their final redistricting hearing and select a final map from seven options.

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