DPS announces bond oversight advisory committee, announces $35.5 million in savings from bond sale for $500.5 million facilities program

Detroit Public Schools’ Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb on Tuesday announced the selection of 10 of 12 members who will serve on the DPS Bond Advisory and Fiscal Responsibility Committee for the district’s $500.5 million facilities program.

The DPS Bond Advisory and Fiscal Responsibility Committee is composed of parents, as well as political, industry, labor and community leaders. The committee will assist Bobb in reviewing, on a regular basis, the ongoing construction and funding to ensure project goals, project budgets and project schedules are met.

Bobb also announced that completion of the sale of $290 million of the $500,540,000 voter-approved capital improvement bonds using special financing authorized under the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will save DPS about $35.5 million.

“We are extremely pleased that the sale of the bonds represents a substantial savings over what the district would’ve paid had we tried to secure our own financing,” Bobb said. “By using the federal stimulus program, we are able to save millions of dollars to build and modernize 18 schools, resulting in the creation of up to 11,000 jobs. The advisory and fiscal responsibility committee also will make an important contribution to our promise to guarantee that these taxpayer funds for the facilities program are spent appropriately.”

The legislation was approved by the federal government in February 2009 in order to assist local units and schools at issuing capital improvement projects at low-interest funding. Voters in Detroit approved the $500.5 million bond issue in November.

The $200 million of the issuance was sold through Build America Bond financing, which allows the District to sell bonds at taxable interest rates, and receive a 35 percent federal subsidy for the interest payments.

The issuance of the Build America Bonds will save the School District approximately $25.2 million in interest cost over the life of the bonds as compared to traditional tax-exempt financing. The balance of the issuance, or $90 million, was issued as Qualified School Construction Bonds, which provides the purchasers of the bonds
federal tax credits in lieu of, or in addition to, interest on the bonds. The issuance of the Qualified School Construction Bonds is estimated to save the School District approximately $10.3 million in interest cost over the life of the bonds.

The first 10 members of the DPS Bond Advisory and Fiscal Responsibility Committee are:

*Mayor Dave Bing, City of Detroit
*Rev. Wendell Anthony, President, Detroit Branch NAACP
*Saunteel Jenkins, Detroit City Councilwoman-elect
*Keith Johnson, President, Detroit Federation of Teachers
*Rev. Oscar King III, Pastor, Northwest Unity Baptist Church and President, Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity
*Raymond Lozano, Executive Director, Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
*Sam Logan, Publisher, The Michigan Chronicle
*Sandra E. Pierce, President and CEO, Charter One Bank, and President of the Board, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce
*Dolores Smith Jackson, parent, Interim Chairman, Citywide School Community Organization
*Toney Stewart, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights Local

The group’s first meeting is set for the second week of January.

The district also on Tuesday unveiled a new Web site to ensure a commitment to transparency, where updates on the bond will be posted, as well as community engagement information and vendor and worker information. That site is www.detroit.k12.mi.us/proposal_s/facilities/

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