Oregon City students attend sale of district bonds; Project planning begins

For eight business students from Oregon City High School, attending the school district’s bond sale was an opportunity to get a real-world look at financial operations.

On December 11, teacher Brent Leong took the class to Piper Jaffray to join school district officials as $158 million in construction bonds were placed on the bond market. On a volatile market day, demand for the bonds was high, and virtually all bonds offered for sale were purchased within 30 minutes.

Piper Jaffray underwriter Carol Samuels talked students through the process and structure of bond sales, premiums, arbitrage, and opportunities in investment careers. Operations Director Wes Rogers described the construction projects that will result from the investment.

“Oregon City Schools are seen as a secure investment, so our bonds are highly rated. That is why they sold so quickly on such a volatile market day,” said Rogers. “High demand reduces costs and provides the opportunity to earn premiums on the sales. Those extra funds can help us complete more projects and address fluctuations in construction costs.”

The school district’s next step is to plan and schedule the long list of bond construction projects approved by voters in November. These include security improvements for every school, added middle school capacity, and upgrades to aging buildings.
“Because of the complexities of construction permitting and our work to ensure efficient spending, most projects will begin in 2020 or 2021,” explained Operations Director Wes Rogers. “However, there will be some security improvements we can make as early as next summer because they do not involve construction.”

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