Hamilton Southeastern school board OKs bond refinancing proposal


With the goal of saving money, the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Board of Trustees voted April 10 to allow administrators to refinance two bonds that were issued in 2014 and are coming up on the halfway point of their 20-year lifespan. 

Matt Shumaker of Stifel, a bond underwriter working with the district, told the board that the 10-year mark for the bonds is their “call date,” which is when the district is allowed to refinance them. 

“These bonds both have call dates of July 15 of 2024,” he said. “Tax law says you can refinance those only within 90 days. That’s why we’re here tonight.”

Shumaker said the average interest rate the district is paying now is 5 percent. Based on current market rates, Stifel estimated the interest rate on refinanced bonds would be just under 3 percent.

“There’s no guarantee that when we go to sell these bonds as early as next month that that 2.94 (percent) will still be there,” he noted. “Hopefully, it’s a little bit less, but market rates are changing every single day.”

Between the two bonds, he said the district could save about $2.5 million through refinancing, and perhaps more. 

The board also held a public hearing on a proposed new bond package totaling up to $49 million to fund items in the district’s 10-year project plan. HSE Business Director Cecilie Nunn said the district issues general obligation bonds like these to maintain or improve facilities and to buy equipment. 

“There’s not enough money in our operations fund budget to assess and take care of all the needs in the district,” she said, adding that “This is not going to increase our total debt service tax rates.”

Debt payments for older bonds that will be paid off this year would roll over to pay for the new bonds, she said, which means that budget expense would remain the same.

Some of the projects the bonds would fund include a new gym floor at Hamilton Southeastern High School, a tennis court at Fishers Junior High School and paying off bus leases. 

No member of the public spoke during the public hearing. The bond proposal will come back to the board for approval at a later date. 

In other matters, the board approved the 2025-26 district calendar. The calendar has no flex days, which are typically used for snow days. Deputy Superintendent Matt Kegley said that instead, students will have e-learning days if in-person schooling must be canceled. 

The next HSE Board of Trustees meeting is a work session set for at 6 p.m. April 24 at HSE’s central office, 13485 Cumberland Rd.