Baldwin County School Business Official Recognized for Strategy to Address Overcrowded Schools
Ashburn, VA — June 27, 2019 — John C. Wilson, CPA, chief school financial officer for the Baldwin County Public Schools in Bay Minette, Alabama, is being honored by the Association of School Business Officials International with its Pinnacle of Achievement Award for an innovative strategy to address overcrowded schools.
Many school systems have to raise taxes and pledge those proceeds toward a 20- or 30-year capital bond in order to fund construction projects. The Baldwin County school system—one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state—didn’t have the luxury of either of those two options for addressing significant overcrowding concerns.
The solution was a four-year $60 million “Pay As You Go” construction financing plan utilizing local banks, low interest rates, and an aggressive draw down funding schedule, Wilson explains.
The first step involved going through the budget line by line, cutting expenses and creating savings that wouldn’t impact the classroom. Through the coordination of the superintendent, board, and staff, $15 million was identified for annual capital construction needs. “This helped to address wings and additions, but new schools were the only true solution for addressing our growth,” Wilson says.
The second step required the district to partner with the county commission so the district could retain the commission’s backing of the capital plan and the existing sales tax could be extended to stabilize funding for this program.
Finally, the district created a financing structure which required no additional taxes and outlined a four-year timeframe to borrow and repay all outstanding debt.
“As a result of our innovative financing structure, we are currently building four new schools. These will be paid off completely in a four-year period, without any long-term bonds or additional taxes.”
The Pinnacle Awards showcase replicable projects and practices that allow district business leaders to exchange and implement new ideas to better support their schools and communities. The awards are sponsored by Virco, Inc.
Wilson will be presented the crystal Pinnacle of Achievement Award at ASBO International’s 2019 Annual Conference & Expo in National Harbor, Maryland, in October.
For more information about ASBO International’s Pinnacle Awards, visit asbointl.org/Pinnacle. For more information about ASBO International’s Annual Conference & Expo, visit asobintl.org/ACE.
About ASBO International Founded in 1910, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) is a nonprofit organization that, through its members and affiliates, represents approximately 30,000 school business professionals worldwide. ASBO International is committed to providing programs, services, and a global network that promote the highest standards in school business. Its members support student achievement through effective resource management in various areas ranging from finance and operations to food services and transportation. Learn more at asbointl.org.
About Virco Virco Inc., is America’s leading furniture and equipment manufacturer and supplier for the K– 12 market. Active in ASBO International for over 60 years, Virco is proud to honor outstanding practices and new ideas in the school business profession.
Contact: Molly Barrie