Lawrence County Board of Education to set future work session to decide refinancing


The Lawrence County Board of Education is planning on future projects of construction, using funds they will receive from the state of Alabama as the result of refunding. 

However, before that happens the board must decide what to do about refinancing their debt that is set to pay out at the end of 2038. 

Brad Green was present to lay out four different scenarios for the board to pursue. 

Two of the scenarios were considered not ideal, leaving two other options. 

The first option would essentially see the board keep their payments until 2038 and not extend any more years. However, the payments would increase an additional $150,000 the first three years before dropping back to the regular payment of $750,000 a year. 

Option two would see the board keep their payments at $750,000 with no increase, but they would be forced to extend their payments an additional year to 2039. 

The first option would be the cheaper overall option, however Superintendent Dr. Jon Bret Smith raised concerns over the increased payments in the short term. 

Because of Covid-19, there is much unknown about the future of the school system's revenue, and Dr. Smith raised the question about the bind choosing option one could put the school system in, should there be another outbreak, that could close schools back down. 

The board did not come to a decision on the options, opting rather to plan a future work session that is still yet to be determined. The work session will have to be set up to be either live if it's another virtual meeting, or be the first in person meeting between the board since the closing of schools. 

In the superintendent’s report, Dr. Smith put all the focus on the upcoming school year. 

Within the next week the state superintendent will release a plan regarding the reopening of schools this fall and the 2020-21 school year. 

"Nobody really knows what the future holds right now," Smith said. "But the state Superintendent is going to release a plan and I believe that will give us a good guide to follow." 

Smith restated that the Lawrence County school system will be offering three options of learning this fall, regular, online and blended. 

Smith said the board plans to send out surveys soon to try and gauge how many parents plan to send their kids back to school.

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