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SV looking at financing for Ehrman elementary school

The final piece of financing for the Ehrman Crest Elementary School will be decided upon next week by the Seneca Valley School Board.

The board members heard Alisha Reesh Henry of PNC Capital Markets, and Christopher Brewer, bond counsel from Dinsmore & Shohl, discuss their recommendation that the board vote to issue a bond not to exceed $25 million as the final piece of financing for the new elementary school.

Henry said the financing is expected to be secured in January, with the board closing on the deal in February.

She expected the amount borrowed to come in at $20 million.

The bond would expire in 2034, Henry said.

She said the district's credit rating is the second-highest achievable.

Henry said the district's debt service is below 8%, which district business manager Lynn Burtner said allows room for future growth planning district-wide.

Brewer told the board members that if funds remain after expenditures are completed for the new school, the district can use them for other capital projects without impacting the resolution to be voted on next week.

Superintendent Tracy Vitale's enrollment update showed that the district continues to grow, even as most of the state's 501 school districts see enrollment decreases.

She said on Oct. 1, 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, the district educated 7,274 students in its schools and in-house cyber school.

On Oct. 1, 2020, enrollment stood at 7,225 students. On that date in 2021, enrollment was 7,382 students.

“We continue to grow at a pace we can manage,” Vitale said.

She said Cranberry Township officials reported to the district that a new development, Brandt Drive Apartments, will add 264 multi-family residential units.

“We will continue to keep this in mind for the future as we consider capital improvements,” Vitale said.

In a COVID-19 update, Vitale said the district now has 54 active student cases and seven staff cases.

She said 170 students are in quarantine, as is one staff member.

Vitale said those impacted by COVID-19 continue to be educated via a livestreamed version of classes.

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