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Prentiss County School District Refinances for the Future

November 20, 2015

It’s no secret that the economic downturn has been hard on the public sector, especially on public school systems like Prentiss County in Northern Mississippi. Like most school districts, their operations are typically funded through local tax revenues and state aid. Now, both sources of income were becoming increasingly scarce as unemployment levels grew and property values decreased.

In response, school districts like Prentiss County are usually forced to slash their budgets and make very difficult choices. These decisions often involve larger class sizes, program cutbacks, shortfalls in books and other supplies, and deferred building maintenance.

When the Prentiss County school district faced these fiscal challenges, its Board of Education sought to trim expenses in ways that would have a minimal impact on the educational services it provides. However, with seven school buildings and 335 employees serving more than 2,300 students in grades K-12, the school board was hard pressed to find enough savings to make up for lost revenues.

Fortunately, the Public Finance Group at Duncan-Williams was able to help. Our analysis of the school district’s finances revealed that it could save over $135,000 in interest payments by refinancing a $1.6 million general obligation bond originally issued in 2002. We encouraged Prentiss County to act quickly in order to take advantage of historically low interest rates.

Within 90 days of our proposal, the Prentiss County school district was able to refinance the bond issue and reduce its interest rate from approximately 4.45% to 2.5%, a savings that significantly affected their ability to educate their students. Duncan-Williams is proud to have played a role in ensuring that the school district of Prentiss County has the resources needed to give young people the education they deserve.