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District 153 approves sale of bonds funded by 2016 referendum

The Homewood District 153 board agreed to work with Mesirow Financial Inc. for the sale of $4.3 million in working cash bonds.

The sale is being underwritten by community residents who approved a referendum for a property tax increase that will cover up to $9 million in new money for Homewood’s schools.

‘These dollars are very much needed,” Superintendent Dale Mitchell said at Monday’s board meeting. From 2010 through 2015, the state reduced promised general state aid.  “The district’s been shorted $2 million in state funding over those five years,” he said.

Mitchell said there are no guarantees of continued financial support from the state, which is why the school board asked voters in a March 2016 referendum to give them authority to borrow money to keep school finances on an even keel. Voters approved the tax increase by more than 80 percent.


The district, serving students at Willow, Churchill and Hart Schools, expects the $9 million to cover expenses for the next seven years. The board will go back into the market in the next few years to sell the rest of the bonds.

According to John Gibson, chief school business official, the district expects to pay between $200,000 and $300,000 more in interest due to the Federal Reserve raising the key interest rate in December.

The board also agreed to transfer $1 million from the Working Cash Fund into the Education Fund. That money is the remainder from the district’s 2011 referendum $7.5 million bond sale.

Gibson said the district kept to its spending targets. The 2011 referendum projections were that the money would carry the district through 2017, and it will, he told board members.

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