County panel approves Yukon schools’ loan

An $18 million loan that will help push forward work on a new Yukon school was approved Monday by the Canadian County Educational Facilities Authority.

The loan, which is considered short-term, was approved unanimously by the panel during a special meeting.

The Yukon School Board authorized the loan during its meeting last week.

At that time, Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said the money would enable Yukon to have funds on hand as construction begins on Redstone Intermediate, the district’s newest school building.

The school will be located in far north Yukon near the intersection of Mustang Road and Britton Road.

Dirt work on the $28 million school already is underway.

When completed, the school will house students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades.

Officials expect the building to be completed by the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Simeroth said this is the first time the district has used the county financing option for a lease-purchase agreement.

Last year, the authority began charging a $5,000 fee for handling transactions. Previously, the districts paid the authority a percentage of the loan.

However, two of the county officials said they felt the money should be going back into the projects rather than paying fees to the county.

Earlier this year, authority returned almost $1 million to several county schools, including Mustang, which received more than $565,000 in refunds.

Simeroth said the money is an advance on the November 2020 bond issuance.

The loan is part of a $44 million bond issue that was approved by voters in September 2017.

It is scheduled to be paid off in 2021.

The money is not only paying for construction of the new school, but also millions of dollars in what Simeroth has called “unsexy” projects.

Those include things like maintenance projects throughout the district, as well as new curriculum and technology updates.

Last week, Simeroth said lease-financing was not an unusual concept. Yukon used this same mechanism, but through a different source, in 2010 when it built Yukon High School.

Mustang, Piedmont and several other Canadian County schools also have used the system to fund construction projects.

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