St. Francis Area Schools eNews

Independent School District 15

April 2018 | Update #4               

Building Our Future Together


The Bond Oversight Committee (BOC) continues to meet bi-weekly to review progress and provide direction to the consultants and architects on the scope of projects related to the passing of the bond referendum last fall. The timeline for completion of the projects across St. Francis Area Schools extends to 2021. The design flow has district-focused teams setting standards on a broad scale. Building design teams work on standards within each building and recommendations are more specific. User groups design individual spaces with more attention to detail. All information goes to the BOC for final review and is then presented to the School Board for final approval. Soon, concept diagrams will be created and shared as projects take shape. Project bundles emerge as a way to coordinate plans, align budgets and streamline work flow in the most efficient manner possible.


In 2016, the Minnesota State legislature passed the Longterm Facilities Maintenance Revenue (LTFMR) for public school districts to address deferred capital expenditure and maintenance necessary to prevent further erosion of facilities. All participants in the LTFMR program must have a 10-year facilities plan and must be updated annually and approved by both the school's governing board and Commissioner of Education. St. Francis Area Schools has a 10-year facilities plan and is part of the LTFMR program. This took place prior to the passing of the bond referendum.


From a budget perspective, aligning the facilities plan revenue with the bond revenue allows the school district a unique opportunity to maximize the funds available, called arbitrage. St. Francis Area Schools' Business Services Department has established financial protocols for bond funds and separate budget codes to track and account for all funds. By coordinating LTFMR projects with bond projects, the school district will ensure that each dollar spent is accounted for and released as needed. Funds can also be invested short term, maximizing the potential of each dollar spent.


One example of aligning projects that are funded differently is the work being planned at the St. Francis High School football, soccer and track stadium. Resurfacing the track will use LTFMR funds, while upgrading the bleachers (replace the home side and retrofit visitor bleachers) will be paid for with bond funds. This project is planned to begin after the 2017-18 school year ends. The late arrival of spring this year has had a major impact on high school spring sports, so completing those activities may possibly impact that start date of construction for the stadium. The plan is for project completion by the time fall sports begin for the 2018-19 school year. As a result of this schedule, St. Francis High School graduation this June will be held indoors.


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"Building Our Future Together - Update for May 2018" was originally published in the March issue of The Courier.


St. Francis Area Schools