With a tableful of legal documents to help demonstrate, Bracewell LLP Partner Barron F. Wallace tells Spring ISD students about the legal and compliance aspects of issuing municipal bonds.
HOUSTON – Feb. 28, 2018 – When the district recently issued more than $10 million in municipal bonds – supporting projects approved by voters in the Nov. 2016 bond election – it was a chance for a small group of Spring ISD students to get a behind-the-scenes look at the world of public finance in action.
“It was a great opportunity just to see the inside of how everything works and how they’re able to make this happen,” said Dekaney senior Galilea Arce, one of the students selected to attend the Feb. 15 event in downtown Houston. “It was a great experience for us to be able to learn about this.”
After attending an earlier presentation at Spring High School on municipal finance, bond issuance and pricing, the 15 students – five each from Dekaney High School, Spring High School and Westfield High School – joined district administrators for a visit to Houston’s financial district, where the transaction – totaling nearly $10.4 million – was being finalized and approved.
The students’ day began with a tour of Hilltop Securities, the financial services firm whose public finance arm has previously worked with Spring ISD to issue bonds. After an introduction to the financial side of the transaction, the group headed over to the law offices of Bracewell LLP, where they were introduced to the legal side of municipal bond issuance. Students were gathered in the firm’s conference room during the official call in which the issuing of the new bonds was approved and finalized.
The students, all upperclassmen, are in career pathways related to Banking/Finance and Accounting or Business Management. The bond closing gave them a chance to see aspects of law and public finance that are normally not witnessed firsthand by the public.
“This kind of learning experience is something they can’t get in a classroom,” said Cynthia Williams, director of career and technical education. “It gives them insight into this kind of work and additional ideas for career paths to pursue. It’s exciting to bring our students out for something like this.”
The students were invited based, in part, on their grades and their history of classroom participation in their career pathway coursework. For Arce, who plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin after graduating later this spring, her pathway classes have offered welcome exposure to topics and ideas that have shaped her plans for the future.
“The courses in the pathway have helped me learn about a lot of things I wouldn’t have been exposed to just in my core classes,” Arce said. “Coming into this experience with the bond closing, I didn’t know that this side of the business existed, so it was a good experience to get to learn about it. Just to have more insight on the career aspects, it helped me a lot.”