School Board accepts subsidy bond bid

Staff reports

The Ascension Parish School Board accepted a low bid from JP Morgan Chase Bank that will allow the board to participate in a federal subsidy program allowing the banking giant to purchase $10 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds.

The subsidy basically allows the board to sell bonds without paying interest in the normal manner, said bond attorney Jerry Osborne during the board meeting at East Ascension High School in Gonzales.

The board will retain the entire principal of the loan for 15 years, and also be able to wait until then before paying back interest. In doing so, the board should be able to wind up with more interest earned than the amount borrowed over the 15 years, Osborne said.

The money, which the board plans to use for construction of the new George Washington Carver primary school, must be spent within three years, Osborne said.

In an unrelated matter, the board recognized member A.J. NIckens who received the National School Boards Association Merit Award, and President Ed Price for being named Board Member of the Year by Louisiana’s School Board Association.

Donaldsonville’s Lowery Intermediate School and its Principal Monica Hills were also recognized for receiving an Ambassador Award for Teacher and Student Advancement. 

Prior to the board meeting, the Transportation Committee reviewed guidelines for increasing accountability of school bus drivers.

The guidelines, to be presented to the board at an upcoming meeting, will specify stages in a driver’s driving accident record that will require written reprimands, driver simulator training, suspensions, and termination.