By Sandra G. Leon
Southwestern College is taking advantage of historically low interest rates and will refinance existing bonds as well as issuing more debt to continue its facilities improvement plans.
The college board approved refinancing $55 million in existing bonds that were issued in 2008 under the voter-approved Proposition R. The refinancing is expected to save taxpayers over $10 million during the life of those bonds, and the move did not extend the bonds’ maturity dates.
“Now more than ever, we are looking for ways to protect the financial health of our community,” Nora E. Vargas, SWC Governing Board President said. “Fiduciary responsibility is our primary role as a Governing Board, and we will always work to protect taxpayers’ pocketbooks while helping our college community thrive,” Vargas added.
The Board also approved the sale of up to $110 million in new bonds to conite with the college’s planning and construction of projects under its Facilities Master Plan. The bonds can be used under existing voter approvals.
Southwestern College had previously refinanced $17 million of existing Prop R bonds in 2016. The college maintains two AA credit ratings, and has earned recognition from the San Diego Taxpayers Association Educational Foundation for its bond reporting and transparency during the past three years.
“Favorable interest rate allow the college to get the most favorable funding possible with the least impact to the community taxpayers,” Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo said. “Student-centered, equity-focused projects, such as a new student [cafeteria], a new instructional building house the University Center, and expansion of the Higher Education Center at San Ysidro, will make a tremendous difference in the lives of our students,” she concluded.
With its main campus in Chula Vista and learning centers in San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, and National City, Southwestern College has over 27,000 students.