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School board refinances, saves interest on bonds

SUWANEE -- At a special called meeting Thursday, the Gwinnett County Board of Education refinanced a portion of the general obligation bonds the school district issued in 2008.

The school board authorized and approved the sale of $255 million in GO bonds. Chief Financial Officer Rick Cost said the board's action resulted in more than $12.5 million savings in interest to Gwinnett County Public Schools over the life of the bonds.

"By taking advantage of a lower interest rate we are able to realize significant savings for the district and for Gwinnett taxpayers," Cost said. "That is more important than ever before, given the current economic situation."

Board Chairman Daniel Seckinger agreed, saying, "While it is always our goal to leverage every opportunity to save or cut costs, it is particularly prudent in these tough times. Not only is it smart business, it's the right thing to do for our schools and community."

Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks expressed his appreciation to the board members for their continued attention to detail regarding the financial health of the district.

"We are one of only four school districts in the nation that holds a AAA bond rating by both leading bond rating agencies," Wilbanks said. "That did not occur by accident, but is a direct result of our Board of Education's commitment over the years to effectively managing resources. Never doubt that teaching and learning is our core business."