Kalispell School District Saves $1.3 Million by Refinancing 2005 Bond

Refinancing the 20-year bond dropped the interest rate from 4.32 percent to 1.44 percent

By Dillon Tabish
School District 5 offices in downtown Kalispell. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Kalispell Public Schools has refinanced its 2005 high school district bond, dropping the annual interest rate of the 20-year bond by two-thirds and reducing the burden on taxpayers by $1.3 million over the remaining life of the bond.

School district officials announced that the refinancing occurred in August and dropped the interest rate from 4.32 percent to 1.44 percent. The $29.9 million bond, which built Glacier High School, expires in 2025. The balance remaining on the bond is $21.3 million.

“We are pleased that the bond refinancing produced tax savings that we can pass along to the taxpayers of the high school and elementary districts,” director of business services Gwyn Andersen stated.

The savings come at the same time Kalispell’s school district is preparing to move forward with two bonds totaling $54 million, the largest combined school bond in the city’s history. The bonds will be used to build a new elementary school, which is expected to break ground in spring, and conduct upgrades at the other school sites. For the 20-year bond, property taxes will increase an estimated $99 annually on a home in the elementary district valued at $170,000. For a similarly priced home in the high school district, property taxes will increase roughly $48 annually. For a home in both districts, taxes will rise roughly $147 annually.

As a result of the recent refinancing, taxpayers will see the reductions in this year’s property taxes. The latest statements were mailed Oct. 25. The savings will be seen as part of the “Flathead High School” category, which includes both Glacier and Flathead schools.

Andersen said the district has worked to refinance bonds in recent years to reduce the burden on taxpayers. The district refinanced bonds in 2013 and 2016 for both the high school and elementary districts, resulting in a total savings of almost $3.4 million.

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