May 30--JEROME -- The Jerome School District just sold bonds and secured a better interest rate than expected, continuing a trend found by districts in Twin Falls and Murtaugh.
Jerome voters approved in March a nearly $24 million facilities bond.
Piper Jaffray, the school district's financial consulting firm, sold bonds Tuesday. The sale will close June 9, which is when the district will receive the money.
The interest rate came in at 4 percent -- about 1 percent less than initial estimates.
Taxpayers will now pay 62 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, a six-cent decrease from original estimates.
"That's a very conservative number," said Dale Layne, superintendent of the Jerome School District. Taxpayers will see a further drop in taxes if there's growth in market value.
A few projects using bond money will start this summer: Constructing an exit road near Jerome Middle School, tearing down modular buildings at Jefferson Elementary School and improving a section of Jerome High School's parking lot are all expected to begin soon.
Most of the bond money -- $18.46 million -- will be used at Jerome High School. Sixteen classrooms will be added, including a science lab, art room and drama room. Security concerns will be addressed and the cafeteria downstairs will be converted into an administrative office. A larger cafeteria will be built, along with a gym and kitchen. And the auditorium will be renovated.
At other schools, more classrooms will be built at Jefferson and Summit elementary schools and at Jerome Middle School. Jefferson Elementary also will receive parking lot upgrades and a safer student pick-up area.
The Jerome School District -- which has 3,660 students -- has seen enrollment rise by about 100 students over the past two years.
All six of Jerome's schools are at or close to capacity, district officials have said.
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