Miami-Dade schools sell first $200M in capital bonds

The first $200 million in taxpayer-backed bonds for Miami-Dade County Public Schools sold Wednesday morning, according to the district.

The sale closes July 24, at which point the proceeds are deposited into district accounts and become available, said Treasurer Silvia Rojas.

The sale of the bonds is another crucial step in pursuing $1.2 billion in rebuilding and renovation projects and technological initiatives that voters approved in November. The bond initiative is expected to cost taxpayers an additional $5 for every $100,000 in a property’s taxable value in the first year.

While bond money has not yet been available, district workers and contractors are pursuing related school wireless projects funded primarily by private investments and matching federal E-Rate funds. Architects are being commissioned for large construction projects.

Rojas said the bulk of the bonds, which were rated favorably this month by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, were acquired by J.P. Morgan Securities.

The bonds sold at 10 a.m. with an interest rate of 4.54 percent, said Chief Financial Officer Richard Hinds. The Miami-Dade School Board locked in the rate weeks ago, prior to an announcement from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank might trim its bond-buying program. Rates have risen in response.

“Our timing was impeccable,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.

Rojas said the district has also locked in rates for the next $100 million bond issue, which the district will receive in February.