HPSD hopes improved finances leads to better bond rating

By DAVID TISDALE,

Three years after staring into the financial abyss, the Hattiesburg Public School District may soon see more fruit from its labors to improve the health of its budget.

 After its reserves dropped below the $1 million mark in 2016, the district may now enjoy better interest rates on bonds approved by voters last year that renewed ad valorem (property) taxes scheduled to ‘sunset’ (expire). The renewal would bring in $20 million-plus for infrastructure upgrades and other improvements to the district.

 During the HPSD Board of Trustees meeting Jan. 8, Superintendent Robert Williams told board members and those in attendance an improved bond credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service could result from positive fiscal management during the last three years, meaning potentially lower interest rates that could in turn free up additional funds for improvements. Other factors that could impact the interest rate include the number of employees and students enrolled in the district, among others. 

Williams said he also wants to continue examining opportunities to improve salaries for district employees going forward. More will be learned about the district’s bond rating in a scheduled conference call with Moody’s in February, he added.

 In other HPSD news:

• Woodley Elementary School was recently notified it has received a $1,148 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to fund new equipment and curricula for its physical education program.

• The district is seeking applications for bus drivers. Full and part-time positions are available and come with benefits, including retirement and health insurance. Applicants must be 21 years of age or older and a high school graduate (or equivalent), have an acceptable driving record and commercial driver’s license with passenger and school bus endorsements. 

For more information, contact the HPSD at (601) 582-5078 or email eddie.daniels@hattiesburgpsd.com.  

 The next HPSD Board of Trustees regular meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the district boardroom, 301 Mamie Street.

PREP SPORTS: