Dec. 17 --In another month, School District 2 will sell a portion of the bonds approved by voters in November and officials are hopeful interest rates will be lower than what they had planned. Speaking to the board Monday night, Leo Hudetz , district CFO and board clerk, explained that when the district is given its interest rate it will likely come in closer to 4 percent than the 4.6 percent they had forecast. Over the 20-year life of the bond, that difference is enough to save SD2 roughly $20 million in interest payments, he said. Officials will learn on Jan. 14 what the interest rate will be. Because the bond is so large -- $122 million -- the district's financial adviser D.A. Davidson & Co. recommended the district seek ratings from two credit-rating agencies, Standard & Poor's and Moody's. Hudetz added that individuals wishing to purchase bonds will have the chance and that more information on that would available by mid-January. Trustees also discussed the open land across the street from Castle Rock Middle School . The property, about 250 acres, is state-owned and the Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation plans to auction it off and subdivide it for housing developments. It's been dubbed the Skyview Ridge Subdivision. Finally, trustees talked about the two new middle schools the district plans to build. The board is putting together criteria it will use to decide which of the new schools will be built first. Sites for the new middle schools were secured when voters approved the $122 million bond in November. One will be built at Bench and Barrett roads next to Bitterroot Elementary School in the Heights. The other will go up at 56th Street West and Grand Avenue . Trustees will look at factors like what the existing utilities are at each site, which area has greater crowding in the classrooms, what the socio-economic profile is for the two areas and what the immediate road and traffic impact will be. Trustees will also look at which sites are pedestrian-friendly. "We need to make a decision at the Jan. 20 meeting because of the bond sale," Bouck tells the board. The district is aiming for a mid-January offering. ___ (c)2013 Billings Gazette (Billings, Mont.) Visit the Billings Gazette (Billings, Mont.) at www.billingsgazette.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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