KUSD board told to expect losses in investments

JC AMBERLYN/Miner
The Kingman Unified School District Board was notified Tuesday by the County Treasurer’s Office that it may lose money on its investment in Lehman Brothers.

JC AMBERLYN/Miner The Kingman Unified School District Board was notified Tuesday by the County Treasurer’s Office that it may lose money on its investment in Lehman Brothers.

KINGMAN - The Kingman Unified School District could be facing a shortfall in more than just state funding. The district board was notified Tuesday night of a letter the district office received from the Mohave County Treasurer's Office.

The letter states that the Treasurer's Office has segregated the nearly $5.1 million in Lehman Brothers bonds the county investment pool had into a separate account. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy last year and the case is currently moving through bankruptcy court.

As part of the county investment pool, the school district had approximately $958,000 in Lehman Brother bonds.

"The frightening thing is we don't know if we will get any of that money back," said Betsy Parker, KUSD assistant superintendent.

Other school districts have funds that were invested in Lehman Brothers bonds through the county investment pool. However, KUSD will receive the largest impact from the bankruptcy of any school district in the county.

The exact impact on the district won't be known until Lehman Brothers comes out of bankruptcy court. The court will use whatever assets the company has to pay off its debts first. What money is left over will go to investors.

The school district did not choose to invest the money in Lehman Brothers, Parker explained.

The County Treasurer's Office disburses all the funds collected from the bonds, the state and taxpayers to the district. The Treasurer's Office also controls where the funds in the county investment pool are invested.

The Lehman Brothers bonds were purchased by the County Treasurer's Office last year.

Current County Treasurer Melissa Havatone could not be reached for comment before press time.

The school board also discussed the guaranteed maximum price for the site work on the new White Cliffs Middle School and central services facility.

The site work consists of landscaping, signs and breaking ground on the new buildings. The site work for White Cliffs Middle School will cost the district around $2,880,166 and around $1,647,833 for the central services facility.

The new middle school is estimated to cost a total of $18 million and the central services facility around $10 million.

The district will break ground on the new middle school on Jan. 19.

To help pay for the new facilities, the school board approved the sale of another $48 million in school improvement bonds.

The bonds will be up for sale to local investors first in the next few days, Parker said.

The district will also hold a contractor's fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday at the district office on MacDonald Avenue.

KUSD Assistant Superintendent Wanda Oden also notified the board that the district will be sending surveys home with students in the next few weeks.

The district is looking at the possibility of moving to a four-day school week and is looking for input from the entire community, Parker said Wednesday.

"It's just a survey, not a vote," Parker said. The survey is looking for the possible benefits and drawbacks to the community if the district moved to a four-day week.

Some of the benefits the district might see is increased attendance at school and an increase in savings in utility bills. Possible drawbacks would be parents needing to reschedule day care for students and rescheduling after-school activities.

Residents can pick up a copy of the survey at any of the local schools or at the district office.

The district will also be holding two public meetings next week on the four-day school week at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday at the district office.

For more information, contact KUSD at (888) 569-5678.