Otsego Council OKs charter-school plan

• City’s credit rating advances one step

by Debbie Griffin

Contributing Writer

The Otsego City Council approved at its Aug. 11 meeting several applications the Kaleidoscope Charter School needed to proceed with its plan to build a 29,600-square-foot expansion at its location on Kalland Ave. The approvals included utility easements, the plat and plans for the building, and a request to create the planned-unit development.

According to project documents, the additional room will enable Kaleidoscope to eliminate temporary classrooms for current students and accommodate high school students, starting with 10th graders.

City Planner Dan Licht said the school is seen as an amenity in the community and that the planning commission was pleased to see it growing out of the temporary classrooms. A permit for the interim units says they are to be removed by September 2016. He said the expansion will include more parking and an improved bus area, better overall access and aesthetics to match the existing building and landscaping.

The city also authorized the issuance of charter-school bonds not to exceed $17.5 million, after holding a public hearing earlier this summer. A bond underwriter at the meeting said the school plans to finalize a packet this week and “put it to the market” for $16 million. He said the revenue bonds would be backed solely by the schools’ operation, with the city assuming no financial responsibility for repaying the bonds.

The underwriter said the project should be finished by the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

The Otsego City Council members took other actions at the recent meeting:

•Listened as Dan Jordet, administrative services and finance director, reported that upon request by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, Otsego had supplied copious information for updates, which resulted in the company advancing the city’s credit rating one step higher in the AA category.

•Approved as part of its consent agenda an increase in legal fees for the first time in 10 years, from $145 per hour to $150 per hour for general legal services and from $160 to $170 per hour for “pass-through developer’s fees.”