Concordia School District closer to goal of 18 new classrooms

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 20, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – Superintendent Lester &uot;Pete&uot; Peterman sees 18 new classrooms in his school district in the near future. The Concordia Parish School Board took the next step last week in making Peterman’s dream a reality by adopting a resolution to borrow money for the work. &uot;We’re ready to go now,&uot; Peterman said. &uot;This is the time we’ve waited for — when we can actually see some things starting to develop.&uot;

The school district is funding the construction and employee salary supplements with a 13-mill five-year tax increase approved by Concordia voters last month.

For district officials the approval of the millage increase was a major step in the long process of beginning the construction project.

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&uot;We want to get things moving really faster than the logistics will let us go,&uot; Peterman said.

Even though voters approved the millage increase, the school district still needed to borrow money because it will not receive enough initial money for the work, said Tom O’Neal, director of business affairs and sales tax.

O’Neal estimates the school district will receive $575,000 annually from the millage increase of which about $325,000 will cover the salary supplements.

Under this plan, employees will get an extra yearly check and receive their first on Dec. 15, Peterman said.

The district must then borrow $1,375,000 just for the construction project which will have a total cost of more than $1.5 million.

Concordia Bank and Trust has pledged to buy the bonds at a 5.6 percent interest rate, said O’Neal, who wants to assure the public that all the borrowed money will be used as intended.

&uot;When we borrow this money, it will go into a segregated fund and it can only be used for construction,&uot; he said. &uot;You can’t do anything else with the money.&uot;

The school board hopes to award the bid for the construction by January or February, Peterman said.

And &uot;before school’s out we’ll see some construction,&uot; said O’Neal, adding that most of the construction will take place during the summer.

The project includes the construction of classrooms at Vidalia Upper Elementary, Ferriday Lower Elementary and Monterey School

The loan must be approved by the state bonding commission but O’Neal said the board does not expect any problem in getting that approval.