Local Facility Financing Committee
Report & Recommendations To Board Of Education
There has been much discussion regarding the need to call for a local bond election which would finance the District's school facility needs. In order to further analyze this option, the Board appointed a Local Facility Financing Committee.This committee was asked to make recommendations to the Board on the following questions:
- Should the Board call for a local bond election?
- What should the amount of the bond measure be?
- What facilities projects should be financed by the bond measure?
- When should the bond election take place?
The committee included representatives of the following groups and organizations:
- School Board;
- District Administration;
- Vista Teachers Association;
- California School Employees Association;
- City of Oceanside;
- City of Vista;
- Del Norte PTA Council;
- District Parent Advisory Committee;
- District English Learner Advisory Committee;
- Oceanside Chamber of Commerce;
- Vista Chamber of Commerce
A complete list of members is attached to this report as Exhibit A.
The committee held nine meetings. During these meetings, District Administration and various speakers presented extensive information to the committee regarding the issue of Vista Unified and facilities. A summary of meetings, including topics covered and guest speakers, is attached to this report as Exhibit B.
After receiving this information, the committee reached the following two assumptions regarding the current school facilities situation.
- The District has a myriad of school facility needs.
These needs have been created by continued enrollment growth, the implementation of Class Size Reduction, plus the importance of upgrading existing schools to provide an adequate education environment. The cost of the District's current facility requirements exceeds $249,000,000. Needed projects include: a new high school; a new continuation high school; a new middle school; six new K-5 schools; the modernization of Bobier Elementary, Monte Vista Elementary, Grapevine Elementary, Crestview Elementary, Vista Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, Casita Center , Vista High School, Lincoln Middle School, Washington Middle School, and California Ave.; and the completion of facility improvement projects at all existing schools.
- At least part of the funds to finance needed new construction projects and improvements at existing schools must be generated within Vista Unified.
The State School Building Program which was implemented by the passage of Proposition 1A requires that districts provide matching funds to obtain State monies. In the case of new construction, the local district must provide 50 percent of the total project cost, including land acquisition; in the case of modernization projects, the district must provide 20 percent of the total project cost. Vista Unified has qualified for State hardship funding in the past, but this revenue will not be adequate to meet the District's facility needs. Also, some District projects do not qualify for State financing and must be paid for locally.
As a result of these assumptions, the committee endorsed the following five recommendations for meeting Vista Unified's current and future facility need.
- The Board should call for a local bond election.
The District's facility needs simply cannot be met by relying solely on State funding sources, especially in light of the State program's rules. The committee reviewed all legally available avenues for funding the needed projects and determined that a bond measure is the only feasible option.
- The District should utilize the provisions of Proposition 39 in calling for a bond measure.
A General Obligation bond is the simplest, most equitable and most cost-effective option for generating needed funds. Additionally, Proposition 39 has lowered the voter approval level for such a bond from two-thirds to 55 percent.
- The amount of the bond measure should be $124,997,343 in current dollars and $139,840,000 when inflation is factored into the bond amount.
Exhibit C summarizes the price for the needed District projects. Exhibit D illustrates potential funding sources for the proposed projects. As can be seen, the District expects to receive over $111,000,000 in project funding from the State. Exhibit E provides an overview of the proposed bond program, including projected bond issues and the estimated annual tax per $100,000 of assessed valuation. Proceeds would be generated from four bond issues; these would occur over a 10 year period. The annual tax rate would never exceed $60 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.
- Funding priority should be given to classroom construction and those projects which are eligible for State matching funds.
As mentioned previously, four bond sales are required over a 10 year period in order to generate the needed funds. Consequently, choices must be made regarding which projects will be initiated as a result of the first bond sales. The committee believes that the overriding goals of the bond measure should be to relieve overcrowding and qualify as many projects as possible for matching State funds.
- The proposed bond measure should be presented to the voters in March, 2002.
This is the next available date for a local General Obligation bond measure under the provisions of Proposition 39. Under State law, the Board must take action to place a bond measure on the March 5, 2002 ballot by December 7, 2001. The committee's report will be presented to the Board on September 13. The committee requests that the Board take a vote to place the recommended bond measure on the March ballot by the middle of November. Such timely action will insure that enough time is available for a community committee to mount an effective campaign.
The members of the Local Facility Financing Committee would like to thank the Board for the opportunity to participate in this vitally important effort. Both individually and collectively, we look forward to providing our time and energies in the future as the District attempts to meet its current and future facility needs.