INNOVATIVE FINANCE TOOL ALLOWS DISTRICT 117 TO IMPROVE SCHOOLs, CREATE OVER 250 JOBS
FOR IMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2015
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Andrew Hamilton, Executive Director, WIEDA, 866-325-7525
A first time collaboration between Jacksonville educators, city officials and the Western Illinois Economic Development Authority (WIEDA) will allow a long awaited school modernization program to be expanded and save local taxpayers an estimated $600,000.
”This effort will maximize the impact of local education sales tax adopted in 2014. These are just the type of projects the Authority is ready to develop throughout the region,” said H. O. Brownback, the WIEDA Chairman.
“We plan a wide range of upgrades and improvements throughout the district over several years. Our efforts will go further due to the financing plan we developed with WEIDA,” said Jacksonville District 117 Supt. Steve Ptacek.
The superintendent noted the first schools on the modernization schedule are Turner Junior High School and Lincoln Elementary School.
“We want to do something that will have a lasting impact, not just repairs and patch-up,” Ptacek added.
Jacksonville city officials helped coordinate the funding plan between the regional authority and educators.
“I think everyone understands that these improvements help better the quality of education and add to the vitality of neighborhoods across our city,” explain Mayor Andy Ezard.
“We know these improvements spur homeowners and businesses to make their own improvements and upgrade,” the mayor added.
The WIEDA bonds will be repaid with funds from the Morgan County Education Facility sales tax which voters approved in a 2014 referendum.
“Our residents saw the need for these improvements and were able to support a funding plan to make it a reality,” the Mayor added.
Industry officials estimates the project will create more than 250 construction and related jobs over its life.
WIEDA Executive Director Andrew Hamilton noted the economic development authority’s efforts allowed school officials to negotiate lower fees and interest rates for the $32 million bond issue.
“These bonds are exempt from both federal and state tax and can be sold a lower interest rate,” Hamilton explained.
The eleven year-old authority serves communities in 13 western Illinois counties. Previously the authority has issued over $63 million creating 675 jobs. WIEDA can issue revenue bonds to fund manufacturing, multi-family and not for profit facilities in the region.
The Authority is chaired by H.O. Brownback of Cass County. He is a vice president emeritus of Southwestern Illinois College and an evaluator on the Higher Learning Commission.
The region includes Adams, Brown, Cass, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Mason, McDonough, Morgan, Pike, Schuyler, Scott and Warren counties. WIEDA is headquartered in Macomb. More details on the authority’s services please contact Andrew Hamilton at 866-325-7525 or visit www.wieda.com