Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 36
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
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School Year Starts With $2 Million in Savings

Ellen Gilbert

Describing it as “a wonderful gift to the taxpayers of Princeton,” School Superintendent Judy Wilson announced the successful refunding of the district’s long term debt of over $40 million, resulting in over $2 million in savings.

Speaking last week at the first Board of Education meeting of the new academic year, Ms. Wilson detailed the multi-year process that ended, as a result of both recent favorable market trends and the district’s triple-A bond rating, with a savings of five percent in pursuing the refinancing option. “This is a wonderful transaction,” well in advance of New Jersey’s three percent requirement, said Ms. Wilson.

Board of Education President Alan Hegedus and Finance Committee Chair Dorothy Bedford both lauded the efforts of Business Administrator Stephanie Kennedy, her staff, and the district’s advisers from McManimon and Scotland, and Capital Financial Co., in successfully negotiating the transaction.

The debt in question was tied to a 2001 bond referendum which had a 20-year term. Under the new terms, the remaining debt will expire in February 2022, and will be eligible for refinancing in 2019. Of the current $2 million in savings, $174,000 will impact on the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Princeton is one of only two New Jersey school systems to hold a triple-A rating from Moody’s.

As for President Obama’s pro-education message to students on Tuesday, Ms. Wilson reported that she had received “just three calls related to it” since the previous Thursday, and only one parental request that a child be removed if it were shown in their classroom. “It hasn’t been the wave seen elsewhere,” she commented.

Her own reaction to the speech was completely positive, she said. “I personally and professionally have a deep appreciation for the message, I read it in advance and caught a few minutes of it live. Anything that we can do to encourage students to set goals and improve their education — that’s what it’s all about.”

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