DALLAS - Albuquerque Municipal School District No. 12 will continue its ongoing capital improvement program with the proceeds from today's competitive sale of $134 million of general obligation school construction bonds.
The district, which serves almost all of Bernalillo County and Albuquerque, is on schedule to spend $1.08 billion on the program between 2006 and 2013. Total funding includes $961.5 million from local sources and $115 million of state matching contributions through the New Mexico Public School Capital Outlay Council.
Local sources of funding for the seven-year capital plan include $125 million of GO bonds authorized in February 2006, all of which have been issued; a $351 million authorization approved by voters in September 2006 that includes today's issue; and a proposed $200 million bond package that will be presented to voters in February 2010.
Standard & Poor's rate the district's debt AA and Moody's Investors Service rates it Aa2. With the sale, the district will have $338 million of outstanding GO debt.
RBC Capital Markets is the district's financial adviser. Bond counsel is Modal, Spelling, Roil, Harris & Sisk PA.
The competitive issue of $134 million from the September 2006 authorization is the first public sale but the second tranche from the debt approved by voters at the election, said Paul Cassidyof RBC.
"The district had a surplus in the debt service fund, so earlier this year we sold $35 million of bonds to the state treasurer's office with a one-day maturity," Cassidy said. "The district had the cash to pay off the bonds in the debt service fund, so it sold the 'sponge' bonds so it could convert the money in the fund into bond proceeds. That's similar to what the state does with its energy-severance tax bonds."
Cassidy said the district plans to issue the remaining authorization from the September 2006 election in 2009.
"Another bond election is planned for 2010, for approximately $200 million," he said. "The sales will be scheduled to avoid an increase in the district's property tax rate."
Most of the proceeds from today's competitive sale will be allocated to the construction of new schools to meet growing enrollment, Cassidy said.
"There are more than $700 million in construction projects going on right now in the district," he said. "That is some 570 projects, and most of it is new construction. There is some rehabilitation work going on, but the district is building a new high school on the west side of Albuquerque and several middle and elementary schools."
The district has spend $1.95 billion on its capital improvement program since it began in 1990 and added more than 2.5 million square feet of facilities, financed in part with $755 million of GO bonds. Over the past 18 years, district voters have approved a total of $1.8 billion in capital expenditures, including GO bonds and property tax increases.
The state has provided $199.2 million through the capital outlay council since 2004, officials said. The state will fund 48% of qualified projects.
The Albuquerque system is the largest school district in New Mexico, with 560,000 residents in a service area of 1,230 square miles. The district operates 173 school sites and had an enrollment of 95,965 students in the 2007-2008 term.
Assessed property values in the district total more than $14 billion.