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WATERLOO — The Board of Education on Monday approved selling $16.67 million in sales tax revenue bonds to finance the Waterloo Career Center’s expansion.

Regions Capital Advantage of Birmingham, Ala., was the lowest of eight bidders with a 2.93 percent interest rate. The highest interest rate among the bidders was 3.6 percent.

Interest payments would total $3.66 million plus $11,000 in agent fees. That brings the total repayment to $20.34 million by July 1, 2029, when that needs to be complete.

“These are not funded by property tax,” said Michael Coughlin, Waterloo Community Schools’ chief financial officer. “It’s all based on the one-penny revenue that we have.”

Because the state’s 1 percent sales tax benefiting schools is set to end in 2029, “we have to compress or compact our payments over 12 years rather than 20,” noted Coughlin.

Last month, the board approved a $13.22 million construction contract for the center’s 80,000-square-foot expansion. Other costs related to the project bring the projected total up to $16.67 million — including architectural fees and contingency along with purchases of furniture, equipment and technology.

Located at the north end of Central Middle School, renovation work will expand the center into unused space on the first and second floor as well as create a new 2,500-square-foot front entrance. The construction will make room for as many as 17 career and technical education programs. The center, which is already open, serves students from any district high school.

In other business, the board approved the 2018-19 high school planning guide/course catalog. New graduation requirements starting with the class of 2022 includes a third semester credit of U.S. history and a geography credit. The third U.S. history semester, to be taken during sophomore year, will allow time to fully teach the curriculum through the recent past. Currently, the furthest teachers typically get is to the Watergate era in the 1970s.

The guide also includes 25 new career and technical education courses, mostly related to four new programs starting next fall at the career center. Several of the new courses are core courses such as applied math and geometry and English in the world of work. Currently, no core courses are taught at the center.

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Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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