School Capital Funding Info

Education Funding Req Process - RHS Turf Status - Presentation to Commissioners on 2-26-2024

School Capital Funding Presentation to Commissioners on 9-25-2023

Commissioners Endorsement of Step 1 Recommendation 3-11-2024

 

March 4th Joint Meeting Documents

PowerPoint Presented to both BOC and BOE

Education Capital Workgroup Step-by-Step Guide

TCS Facility Assessment Summary

TCS Focus Projects Step1

 

Mold Testing Report Detail by School Facility →

 

Axias Building Condition Report Detail by School Facility →

 

  • Nov 2018 (mid FY 19) there was a general obligation bond referendum on the ballot for K-12 schools including BHS/RMS/RHS.
    • The vote allows commissioners to use GO Bonds for financing purposes and is not a vote on scope of work.
    • School system distributed information on their expected scope for $68 million in improvements at those sites with start dates Spring 2020 and to total of 42-55 months to complete.
    • School system dates for bond sale (must be after design and bids in hand) projected in 2021.
    • Commissioners raise taxes 10.5 cents ($6.2 million estimated payment) in FY 20 to be able to pay for design fees and for the first bond payment based on that schedule and with projected interest rates at that time.
    • Commissioners have budgeted $6.2 million in cash revenue into the fund in FY 21, FY 22 and FY 23
      • $4 million for design fees requested and approved by the BOE.
  • Sept 2019 BOE requests approval of first architect/CMAR contracts ($4 million) County legal counsel reviews with suggested changes and the process is held up waiting on the soils report to attach to the contracts.  Soils report completed in late December, BOC approves in January.
  • 2020 and 2021- Pandemic and Construction increases- project will exceed $68 million.
  • 2022- BOE requests additional design fees of $1.3 million to pursue a reduced scope “Option1”
    • Commissioners approve the scope under the condition that the BOE affirms that additional dollars at those schools will not be needed due to removal of some renovations from the original scope.
  • Fall 2022- Commissioners propose a path forward, at county expense, that would:
    • Assess existing school buildings for existing building needs (roofs, HVACs, etc) to give a baseline
    • Hire a retired county manager and retired superintendent to pair with superintendent and manager to review the assessment and other relevant information to offer possible paths forward for both boards to consider together
    • BOE approves for superintendent to participate in process proposed
  • School attorney, county attorney, superintendent and county manager meet in Dec 2022 and Jan 2023 to begin work.  County issues RFQ in March for a Maintenance Reserve Study (assessment).   School attorney suggests waiting for assessment to hire the retired professionals.  BOE requests that the assessment not interfere with instructional time so county agrees to wait until summer break
  • July 24, 2023  Consultant performing the assessment has a kick off meeting with superintendent, manager, staff from county and schools, a commissioner and 2 board of education members.
    • Confirms 6 weeks for initial draft report from that date
    • Spends the week at all school sites going through buildings, on roofs, etc to conduct assessment
  • August 22, 2023- county manager proceeds with hiring of the retired manager and retired superintendent
  • September 27, 2023- the education capital work group meets for the first time to begin reviewing the draft results of the maintenance reserve study with the consultant. Overall, the group’s initial findings suggest that, while there is work to be done, the school buildings in our community are worthy of investment and have useable life.  The most critical investment need appears to be roofs that will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.  The group is recommending a full safety study to be commissioned that will support the working group’s ability to refine options for the two boards to consider.  While that step is being considered, the group will work concurrently towards the commissioned work.  The group will meet again in two weeks to sort through projects identified by the building assessment in anticipation of being able to include the safety study information as they continue their work with the maintenance reserve study consultant.  The group is unified that time is of the essence, but that the options put forward at the end of this work need to be well thought out and comprehensive to have the best outcomes for our students.

What has happened to the bond money?

There isn’t bond money- yet. Bonds are a financing method where bonds are sold in order to gain revenue to complete a capital improvement. Bonds cannot be sold until a project is designed and the project has already gone out to bid. Once the bonds are sold, only the professional fees like architect and engineer fees can be reimbursed from the funding. The bonds can be sold up to 10 years from the vote (Nov 2028) up to the amount put on the referendum. The referendum does allow for bond financing to support all Transylvania K-12 schools including Rosman High, Rosman Middle and Brevard High.

What about the 10.5 cent tax increase for FY 20? 

The initial increase was based on the first expected payment if the bonds were sold in 2021 as projected. With projected interest rates that was $6.2 million. The valuation of property and the total tax rate changes over time and there is no designation of property tax beyond what commissioners adopt each year in the county budget. They can also move funds out of capital funds depending on financial planning such as when they chose to finance. The reality is that commissioners set the tax rate each year based on the adopted budget. They have continued to include moving funds into the education capital fund- a fund on county books set up for their financial planning of multi year projects- for the last 4 years using that initial estimate amount and starting in FY 20 in the year after the bond vote. Commissioners are responsible for a lot of different services and capital needs and can adjust that amount based on the needs of the county, which includes the school system.

What is the status of the bond projects?

Transylvania County is known for the county commitment to fund schools at a high level for our peers and that is a positive testament to elected officials and to the citizens of the county. The Board of Education and Board of Commissioners had plans going into the bond referendum in 2018 before the COVID Pandemic changed everyone’s realities. Both the county and schools were overwhelmed with operating through the shut down to serve citizens and students. Between original timeline delays, supply chain, rapid increases in construction costs and rising interest rates, the original project plans cannot be built for $68 million and the projected payments on the debt will also be higher. The two boards are now working on a plan to invest in the needs of school facilities and will need to revise the projections for payments to adjust the original financial plan.

Has any of the $68 million been spent?

Yes- architect and CMAR fees were approximately $4 million. This was part of the $68 million budget from the school system and those professionals were hired by them directly to perform work with funds coming from the education capital fund. The balance of cash in the education capital fund at the end of FY 23 was $21 million. Commissioners have transferred $6.2 million in property tax collections each year into the education capital fund. That number is based on the original projection from interest rates during the bond referendum for the bond debt payment initially scheduled to start in 2021. Interest earned by the funds are allocated back into the education capital fund for use on education capital projects along with other county revenues such as property and sales tax allocated for education capital. All education capital projects over $50,000 approved for funding are tracked in the education capital fund along with the revenues to fund them.

 

If Step 1 is approximately $62 million, why not go ahead and sell $68 million of bonds?

The financial advisor has indicated that selling a first tranche is the best way to use this financing method to address the urgent needs in Step 1 in the short term. Full bond sale is more likely to require bids in hand which will make the process take longer. If the bond sale is not on the agenda for the LGC by October, then another opportunity will not be available until the Spring of 2025 due to the audit requirements. The county will need to start the financing process in July at the latest to be able to leverage financing by the end of 2024. Any remaining bond sale funds will be available with a second tranche sale up until the referendum sunset in 202

School Bond Archive Files

 

 

 

Capital Projects Updates

April 2024

May 2024

 

New Courthouse

Here you will find all information pertaining to the new courthouse.

https://www.transylvaniacounty.org/transylvania-county-courthouse-project  

 

Fire District Funding Information

http://www.transylvaniacounty.org/news/fire-district-meetings-presentations-information