OTTUMWA — The school district’s bond rating has improved, according to a letter from S&P Global Ratings. It’s not a change students will notice, but it could have an effect on the district’s costs for borrowing in the future.

A letter on the rating dated Sept. 16 said the company reviewed the district’s school infrastructure sales, services and use tax revenue refunding bonds. A copy of the letter is available on the district’s website, in the packet for Monday’s school board meeting.

Borrowing could be an important issue for the district, which is considering construction of a new elementary school. And there could be significant developments on that front on Tuesday.

The board has scheduled a meeting for “discussion of property assessment” by DLR Group, the company hired as architect for the new school. That discussion will be followed by a closed session under the exemption to the state’s open meetings law used “to discuss the purchase or sale of particular real estate … where premature disclosure could reasonably be expected to increase the price the governmental body would have to pay for that property … .”

The board will return to open session for what is described only as “board action.” It could signal a vote on the purchase of a specific property. But that is not guaranteed. If board members are not satisfied with the options they could also turn them down and keep looking.

Current estimates for the cost of a new elementary school come in at a little more than $17 million. That’s lower than the $20 million figure that was widely discussed initially, but also leaves room to cushion the effect of unforeseen issues during the construction process.

The school board hired Estes Construction as the construction manager at the same August session as it approved DLR Group.

Monday’s regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the SparkTank facility, 325 E. Main Street. Tuesday’s session is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the same site.

Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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