Mt. Lebanon School District is ready to borrow the rest of the money it needs to complete its $109 million-plus high school renovation project.
The school board on Monday voted to authorize representatives of two financial services firms to prepare for a bond issue to complement the $75 million the district borrowed in 2009.
Tim Frenz, managing director at Janney Capital Markets, outlined two bond options. One would be to finance the nearly $33 million remaining to pay for the renovation, while the other involves $30 million in bonds with the district using the rest from its reserve.
Most board members said they favor the first option, citing the need to keep enough money on hand for a variety of circumstances.
Mr. Frenz recommended that the district structure the new bond issue around its existing debt to help mitigate the impact on property taxes. To finance an additional $33 million, the estimate is for taxes to rise by 0.56 mills, phased in over the next three years.
"The structure only needs to go out one more year past your current maturity of bonds," Mr. Frenz said, adding that the debt would be paid off in 2035.
He said he hopes to take a closer examination of the specifics during the board's Aug. 12 discussion meeting before possibly putting the bonds up for sale Aug. 19 and seeking board approval at its regular meeting that night.
Joining Janney Capital Markets in preparing for the bond issuance is Pittsburgh law firm Houston Harbaugh, which is serving as bond counsel.
In other business Monday:
• Members of the Mt. Lebanon High School girls volleyball team told the board of concerns about their home court for the coming season.
"The Jefferson Middle School gym is not adequate for playing at the high school level," said senior Keely Ford, noting a relatively low ceiling and minimal floor space.
Speaking of behalf of her teammates, she requested that the district look into finding a suitable court for the squad that won the 2012-13 Class AAA WPIAL title.
Elaine Cappucci, board president, said other high school teams are being displaced.
"All of us understand that we are asking you to make a sacrifice during the construction," she said, noting that athletic director John Grogan and high school principal Brian McFeeley are examining alternative arrangements for all fall sports. "We hope to do the best for you."
• Kerry Descalzi, a North Meadowcroft Avenue resident, asked the board to support the construction of sidewalks on her street for the benefit of students walking to school.
She has spoken with municipal officials about the possibility, citing safety concerns because the street serves as cut-through for traffic between heavily traveled McFarland and Beverly roads.
Superintendent Timothy Steinhauer said information about safe walking routes is provided by the Mt. Lebanon Police Department.
"It is their expertise that we rely on," he said.
The board will prepare a brief letter of support on behalf of safe walking routes throughout Mt. Lebanon, Ms. Cappucci said. She also suggested that Jo Posti, the school board's liaison to the municipality, discuss the issue with her counterpart, council member Kelly Fraasch.
Harry Funk, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.