Dave Rogers

For The Record

West Orange-Cove school board members considered and approved Monday night, Jan. 14, the issuance, sale and delivery of about $17 million in school bonds approved by stakeholders in November.

Louis Wilks of U.S. Capital Advisors told the board that Moody’s bond rating service had given the district an A-1 bond rating, which it upgraded to Triple-A.

He said the best of five bids received was by R.W. Baird, a wealth management firm headquartered in Milwaukee, and it was for a “lower than expected” 3.29 percent.

Those funds should be available Feb. 14, Wilks said, which is a good thing, as superintendent Rickie Harris, Ed.D., noted that plans for football field and event center construction are almost complete.

“The most important thing we did all year was get turf for the high school,” Ruth Hancock, school board president, said after a student presentation honoring school board appreciation month.

And Harris’ bond update reported three long-awaited dates for a football-crazed community that has seen its team compile the highest winning percentage of any Texas high school team ever.

“Turf bidding opens Feb. 12,” Harris said, “and bid opening is Feb. 18. We plan to hold our groundbreaking Feb. 28.”

The entire bond issue approved by voters was for $25.75 million, with more than $16 million of that going for athletics [$5.15 million to put artificial turf on its football, baseball and softball fields and $11.3 million for an event center that will serve as the district’s new competition gym.].

Wilks said he plans to complete the bond sale by issuing $9 million in a year.

“We’ll get a better rate on our second round,” he said.

Monday’s meeting began with Harris recognizing two “Super Fans,” longtime WOC employee William Smith and Ella Barlow of the North Early Learning Center.

North Early Learning Center was front and center in recognizing its student of the month, Cheyenne Shaunesy, staff member of the month, Angel Istre, and teacher of the month, Julie Beavers.