Board of Ed approves refinancing for A. A. Roberty building, two other school debts to save $1.275 million

The Harford County school system hopes to refinance three existing debts it carries for an estimated savings of more than $1.2 million.

"[I] know we can get better terms in the current market," Jim Jewell, assistant superintendent of business services, said about interest rates of several school leases.

In late 2001 and 2002, Harford County Public Schools entered into two separate energy performance leases. In September 2004, the school system also entered into financing for the A. A. Roberty Building on South Hickory Avenue in Bel Air.

With interest rates plummeting in the current economic market, it's a great environment for the school system to refinance or refund these debts, Jewell explained.

According to a financial analysis in February by Davenport and Company LLC, the financial advisor for the Roberty building's original financing, the estimated net present value savings on the building is $935,522.

Furthermore, the savings for the 2001 energy lease is $146,301, and the 2002 energy lease savings is $193,534. This creates a combined estimated savings of $1,275,357, Jewell said.

To garner these savings, Jewell said, they school system needs to incur the services of a financial advisor, legal counsel and underwriting expenses for a total of $210,000. These expenses are calculated into the $1.275 million in savings.

Board of Education Vice President Rick Grambo asked if refinancing is still reasonable, considering it would cost $210,000 for expenses, legal counsel and a financial advisor.

"It appears reasonable," Jewell responded.

Grambo then asked if there was is risk involved with refinancing.

"This is not a big risk," Jewell said, adding that multiple institutions give tax-exempt financing to school systems and government entities.

Jewell noted that the school system would be looking for a fixed rate.

While the board of education approved the measure to move forward, Jewell said it will still need to go before the Harford County executive and the county council, which, he expects will be sometime in the summer.

Scarborough in Hall of Fame

In other business from Monday's school board meeting, Dr. Gerald E. Scarborough was inducted into the Harford County Public Schools Educator Hall of Fame.

Scarborough was born and raised in Churchville and began teaching at Rock Glenn Middle School in Baltimore in the spring 1969. He moved to Bel Air Middle School later that year.

During his career, Scarborough also taught at Southampton and Havre de Grace middle schools, was promoted to teaching assistant principal at North Harford Middle School in 1986, then assistant principal in 1986 and principal in 1992.

Scarborough served as supervisor of social studies from 1998 to 2001 and assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction up until his retirement in 2008.

Although retired from the school system, the dedicated educator is an adjunct professor at Towson University — his alma mater.

Cassilly honored

The school system's resource conservation manager, Andrew Cassilly, was recognized for being named Innovator of the Year by the Maryland Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Cassilly developed a program for single-stream recycling for the school system and the program paid for itself within the first year, it was noted during his recognition Monday.

He also worked to maximize rebates from the BGE Smart Savers Energy program, which has resulted in the school system receiving more than $200,000 in rebate funds.

Superintendent Robert Tomback applauded Cassilly for his "cost avoidance measures" and said through his efforts he has saved Harford schools in excess of $2 million.

Athletics recognitions

Harford Technical High School's cheerleading team was recognized for its win at the 2012 Maryland High School Cheerleading Coaches Association Winter State Cheerleading Championship.

Aberdeen High School's girls basketball team and Fallston High student Zachary Cullison were also recognized for their athletic achievements.

Aberdeen's basketball team won the 3A state title in the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association championship and Cullison earned an individual 1A/2A state wrestling title at 132 pounds.

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