BELMONT — The Shaker Regional School Board approved changing the terms of an energy equipment lease for $2,533,000 from an 18-year bond to a 15-year bond at its June 9 meeting last week, following a public hearing.
Superintendent Maria Dreyer said the company managing the energy upgrade project that will be for all four schools told them it was unable to get an 18-year-lease because of declining enrollments in New Hampshire schools. The project was approved at the March District Meeting.
Mike Davey, from Energy Equipment Investments, Inc. told the board that national bond investors are reluctant to buy school bonds for greater than 15-year terms for fear of school closings because of declining enrollments.
The project will upgrade all of the energy systems in all four Shaker Regional School District buildings. Wood pellet boilers will be added to all four and the Canterbury Elementary School will remove an old oil system and its tanks and replace it with a propane system.
Dreyer said that by shortening the term of the bond, the overall interest paid by the district will likely be less than the longer term note. The issue at hand, she said, is the annual payments on a 15-year bond will be higher than they would be for an 18-year bond.
She said Davey shopped the 18-year bond at a number of banks but was unable to get one to finance it for the whole term.
Dreyer explained yesterday that there are still some unknowns that Davey has yet to provide, including at what interest rate the bond can be financed. In addition, because of the conversion to alternative energy, the school is eligible for utility company Renewable Energy Certificate and Dreyer said the amount of energy savings credits can't be predicted because nobody knows what kind of winters the area will see over the 10 years the school is eligible for them.
She said it is possible the energy credits could compensate for the higher annual payments but again she had no idea how much the credits will be as it will depend on the severity of the winter.
The School District also received $212,000 in energy grants to offset some of the costs of the wood pellets boiler installation.
The school board also voted on June 9, following a public hearing, to use $45,891.75 from the Conservation Upgrades Expendable Trust Fund for some of the lead costs once the financing in the project is completed and is approved by the board.
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