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Linn-Mar saves money through refinancing
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · February 16th, 2017

The Linn-Mar Board of Education approved a resolution at its January 23 meeting to sell approximately $16,090,000 in General Obligation School Refunding Bonds, Series 2017. The date of sale was set for Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.

On the evening of February 6, the school board held its work session and regular session at Oak Ridge Middle School. Matthew R. Gillaspie, Senior Vice President for Piper Jaffray, was on hand to present the results of the bidding process.

Gillaspie reported that 11 bids had been received, which is a relatively large number. One of the reasons for the number is Linn-Mar's good credit rating. The winning bid came from J. P. Morgan of New York, and it resulted in a larger amount of savings than earlier projected.

The board on Monday evening voted to accept the bid.

During the work session, a number of educators from both Oak Ridge and Excelsior middle schools presented information on middle school grading, levels of proficiency, professional learning communities, the cycles of teaching and student learning, and participation in professional development activities using Marzano methodology.

Among those who gave information were the principals of both schools, Erica Rausch from Oak Ridge and John Christian from Excelsior; Bob Read, Director of Middle School Teaching and Learning; and Instructional Coaches CJ McDonald (Excelsior) and Nicole Redington (Oak Ridge).

They noted that staff from both middle schools have been meeting and collaborating to better assess student needs, learning levels and district-wide middle school curriculum, assessments and goals.

Highlights of the new Linn-Mar website were presented. Currently more than 500 teacher/staff sites have been created and work is ongoing. In only a few days, more than 24,000 users had visited the site. A total of over 130,600 page views were reported with an average of 2.92 pages viewed per session.

Supt. Quintin Shepherd noted that it is a goal to have a "universal business engagement model" so that as students complete high school they have a "successful launch" to what comes after graduation. He stated that it is expected that Linn-Mar will "debut our ideas on March 8 at the MEDCO annual luncheon."

A bond referendum will be forthcoming in September asking the district's voters to increase the property tax rate between $1 and $1.50 on every $1000 of assessed value.

A Facilities Committee of parents, staff and community members has been set up to address the district's facility needs and set priorities. OPN Architects and Design Engineers are assessing and will provide recommendations.

Among changes to come are moving 5th grade into a converted Oak Ridge and a new building, converting Excelsior into a combined 8th/9th building, and reworking and upgrading Wilkins, Indian Creek and Bowman Woods.
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