York Tech project cheaper than expected

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch
  • A bond sale to raise $12 million needed for a building project yielded lower-than-expected results.
  • Districts will spend $1.8 million less from its initial estimate over 15 years.

A multimillion-dollar renovation project at the York County School of Technology won't cost as much as school officials anticipated after a bond sale yielded a lower interest rate that will save participating school districts $1.8 million over the term of the loan.

The York County School of Technology Authority approved a $12 million construction project Thursday evening.

Joint Operating Committee members were treated to the positive financial news toward the end of the committee’s last regular meeting Thursday, Aug. 31.

York Tech business manager Jon Boyer updated the committee on the bond sale to come up with $12 million needed for a building project that would renovate athletic and outdoor facilities as well as create an assembly area for the students.

As of late August, about 1,700 students from 14 York County school districts were enrolled at the school.

Before the additional $12 million borrowing, the school had bond debts totaling $22.6 million from 2018-23, according to Boyer.

The $12 million project's approval allowed the school to refinance and extend its debt term with the new money loaded on.

Financial advisers initially estimated an interest rate of 3.5 percent, with a total debt of $39.8 million by the end of the 2032 fiscal year.

In the recently acquired final bond figures, Boyer said the interest rate was set at 2.52 percent and a revised final debt of $38 million — a savings of $1.8 million for the school districts footing the bill.

The school’s debt is assigned to all 14 school districts based on the assessed property value of each district.

Central York School District will stand to save the most money from the bond result, saving $16,846 in the 2017-18 year alone after PlanCon reimbursements.

In June, the Central York school board voted against the project, arguing the funding formula for debt carried by partner schools is “outdated and inequitable” in a statement posted on its website.

A request for comment from Central York board members was not returned.

Eastern York School District also failed to approve the project.

York City is estimated to pay about $20,000 more at the end of the 15-year debt service term, according to Boyer.

“The interest rates came in excellent, much better than anyone expected,” he said.

“I looked twice and called to make sure (the numbers) were right."

The Joint Operating Authority, which oversees financial and building aspects of the school, will begin the process of selecting an architect in the next few weeks, according to Boyer, with groundbreaking expected after the 2017-18 school year.