Pulaski County Special School District trustees voted unanimously last week to seek approval from the Arkansas Board of Education for $104 million of general obligation bonds.

The state board will hear the request June 13. If the secondary-lien bonds are approved, the debt is expected to be issued in July.

The district said the bonds would finance construction of new facilities and renovation of existing schools.

A review of the district's finances by the education board staff in 2010 resulted in a finding of financial mismanagement. The staff recommended on March 30 that the board classify the district as financially distressed.

District officials said they have corrected most of the audit findings. The school board will appeal the distress designation at the state board's May meeting.

The Pulaski County district cannot issue debt without approval from the Board of Education.

Bill Vasquez, president of the Pulaski school district, said bond proceeds would finance a capital plan to renew or renovate every school in the district.

The district's debt, which is covered by Arkansas' school bond enhancement program, is rated A by Standard & Poor's and A1 by Moody's Investors Service.

The district has some 17,500 students. It serves all of Pulaski County, except for Little Rock and North Little Rock, and portions of Lonoke, Saline, and Faulkner counties.

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