Students in Professor Bill Simonsen’s Capital Financing and Budgeting course took on a real-world challenge as they worked with the Town of Mansfield and the Mansfield Public School System (MPS) to address issues of school building renovation vs. new construction, and the challenge of operating three elementary schools efficiently in the face of declining enrollment.
One of the key steps in the project was developing cost estimates for various renovation and new construction scenarios for Mansfield Public Schools (MPS). This work included calculating the bonding amounts; estimating the bond structuring and sizing and producing a projected annual debt service; and projecting the impact on the tax rate and the average household. This information served as part of the MPS citizen involvement process. The students also conducted a debt affordability analysis for the town using an innovative propensity score matching technique for choosing towns for benchmarking Mansfield’s debt. In addition, the class conducted a review of the Town’s debt policies by comparing them to best practices.
At the conclusion of the Spring 2018 semester, the class produced a final report and presented their analyses to the Town Finance Director and the MPS Board Chair.