KCK school leaders celebrate bond refinancing of $30 million while new school construction progresses

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- You don't often hear of school districts saving money.

That's what one metro education system said it's doing, saving $30 million off a huge bond debt approved by voters.

The sound of power tools from a construction site is welcome in several Wyandotte County neighborhood.

The Kansas City, Kansas, School District is in the process of building five new schools, using a lion's share of $235 million in bond money. Voters signed off on that loan with a 79% approval in late 2016.

Now Dr. Charles Faust, KCK Schools Superintendent, said his district is building and saving cash, too. 

"$30 million is what it cut from the loan," Foust said.

Foust said this isn't liquid money that will come back to voters or the district to be used for other projects. Instead, it's money that will be reduced from the original debt, much like lowering a mortgage payment by refinancing a home loan to receive a lower interest rate.

This move, according to Foust, will allow the district to repay that bond debt by roughly a year ahead of schedule.

"That's one of the best things," he said. "Just like with anything, when you have a higher interest rate, and then you're able to refinance to get a lower interest rate, that means there's savings."

Constuction is in the late stages at several sites around Wyandotte County, including Carl Bruce Middle School on N. 18th Street and Lowell Brune Elementary School oon N. 89th Terrace.

Many of the new schools will replace old centers of education with new buildings with the latest technologies. 

The refinancing of the original bond also helps the district with its dedication of money toward a centralized kitchen for the district and new security features for existing schools.

As these new structures continue to grow, neighbors are getting excited about what it means for their families.

"We understand it's a building," Foust said. "It means a lot to the communities. However, putting in a brand new building with the latest technologies is also something that means a lot to the community."

"It's new possibilities for new students," said Dewayne Washington, a parent of kids who attend W. A. White Elementary School on N. 43rd Street. "It's good to see new buildings being built. It will help the property value, having the new building in the area. It will make it better for homes and home owners."

"Curb appeal means a lot. We talk about that often as someone is riding by or driving by the campus. What does it present?" Foust added.

For a district that's been hungry for victories, the money saved and the new schools present a lot of hope.

KCK Schools leaders said all of the district's construction projects are going well, and set to open for classes next fall.

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