School district seeks to issue new bonds

The Clark County School District is seeking approval to issue up to $249 million in new bonds for construction projects.

The district wants to take advantage of interest-free bonds made available by the federal stimulus package.

It also needs an interim source of revenue for construction projects since the 10-year bond program approved by voters in 1998 is winding down.

The Clark County Debt Management Commission would have to approve the new bonds, which would be financed through real estate transfer taxes and room taxes.

The request is expected to go before the commission in August.

Because the proposed bonds would be financed by “recurring revenue,” voter approval is not required, district officials said.

All the bonds for the 1998 program have been sold, said the district’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Weiler.

The Clark County School Board will have to decide whether to seek a future bond referendum, which would need voter approval.

The $249 million bond proposal is an interim measure to carry the district over until a future bond referendum can be approved.

The district’s pursuit of the $249 million proposal was also prompted by interest-free bonds that are part of the federal stimulus package.

“They’re called tax-credit bonds,” Weiler said. “The federal government will issue a tax credit to anybody who buys those bonds.”

It’s not free money, Weiler noted.

“We have to pay it back, but we don’t have to pay interest,” he said. “That saves millions of dollars in interest. We might not be doing this if not for that.”

Revenue from the proposed bonds would finance an approved list of projects not yet funded, including building modernization and renovation, Weiler said.

A list of those projects was not immediately available.

The School Board, with little discussion, approved the bond proposal Thursday and also a request to refinance existing bonds to save money on low interest rates.

Board Member Carolyn Edwards requested that new bond revenue be held in an account separate from the 1998 bond program.

A revised capital program is scheduled to go before the district’s Bond Oversight Committee and the School Board for approval this fall.

Contact reporter James Haug at or 702-383-4686.

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