CONYERS -- Rockdale County Public Schools once again will start off the new year as a debt-free school system.
The system paid off its $8.5 million Tax Anticipation Note in early December, according to Lee Davis, chief financial officer at RCPS.
The system had to use a TAN -- a temporary, short-term loan to cover expenses in anticipation of collecting taxes in the future -- to stay out of the red this school year.
RCPS, which prides itself in otherwise being a debt-free school system, would have operated in a deficit if it didn't borrow the money because most revenues from taxes don't come in until November and December.
The school board recently adopted a millage rate of 24.5 mills for the year, the same rate as last year. Davis previously said that taxes collected this year will be a 4.6 percent drop, more than $2.6 million, from the previous year.
After also borrowing on TANs in 2011 and 2009 and paying them off the same years, the system had not borrowed money in the previous seven years.
The system would have had to pay $23,138.87 in interest if the TAN were paid off on Dec. 31, 2012, when the loan matured. Instead, the system paid it off 24 days early, on Dec. 7, after enough taxes came in, saving $5,553 in interest.
The TAN was borrowed from SunTrust Robinson Humphrey at a fixed rate of .98 percent; RCPS borrowed from the same company in 2011 and officials said then they were able to secure a low rate since it is the same firm RCPS uses for its checking account. In 2011, RCPS paid .884 percent interest of nearly $10,500, and in 2009, it paid 2 percent on the TANs at more than $32,000.