?The Central School Board on Wednesday heard presentations from four law firms seeking to handle construction bonds and other public finance issues faced by the school system.
Foley & Judell has been handling this work since Central broke away from East Baton Rouge Parish in 2007 and formed its own school system. The other three firms that made presentations Wednesday are Adams and Reese, Jones Walker, and Kean Miller.
After the presentations, the board went into closed session to interview each firm. The board plans to make a selection when it meets again Monday.
James Gardner, president of the board, said the board is not dissatisfied with Foley & Judell but is in the practice of seeking proposals from competitors for such services.
Legal fees for government bond work are capped by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. All four firms say they will charge less than the state maximum fee schedule.
Three of the four firms highlighted their firms’ experience in preparing and selling school bonds.
Grant Schleuter with Foley & Judell said his firm does nothing but such work and represents almost all of Louisiana’s 69 school systems, including Central. He noted Central’s successful tax election in 2009 and its success in securing an A+ bond rating, which he said will save Central taxpayer $8 million in interest costs over time.
“You had challenges that I have not seen with the other school boards, and you have come a long way,” he said. “It’s very gratifying to see.”
While Kean Miller has represented many school districts before, it has not until now broken into the bond counsel business.
Angela Adolph presented for Kean Miller. While she has 10 years experience in working with government bonds, she just joined Kean Miller a week ago. She promised to be creative and energetic on behalf of Central.
“I will be your bond counsel and only your bond counsel. When you call, you will get me,” she said. “You will not be one of a herd.”