School district moves forward with bond tasks
McIntire said he hopes construction and modernization projects at the district’s three schools can be completed by 2011. He said this timeline is very optimistic, and it may take until 2012 to complete the project.
The first step, according to McIntire, is to get the process moving. He said it’s even more important to act quickly because of the state of California’s current budget crisis and the number of schools across the state seeking state money for similar projects.
The trustees completed the first step in the process at the board’s Nov. 13 meeting when it certified the election results and sent that certification to the Lassen County Board of Supervisors.
With that task completed, the SSD board has 60 days to adopt a resolution establishing an independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee. The committee must be comprised of at least seven members who will serve for a term of two years without compensation. Members may not serve more than two consecutive terms.
The committee must include one member who is active in a business organization representing the business community located within the school district; one member active in a senior citizens’ organization; one member who is the parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the school district; one member who is both a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the school district and active in a parent-teacher organization; and one member who is active in a bona fide taxpayers’ organization. The committee may not include any employee or official of the school district or a vendor, contractor or consultant of the school district.
The board also must adopt a resolution authorizing the sale of the bonds. The resolution prescribes the total amount of bonds to be sold, the maximum acceptable interest rate, the call provisions for the bonds and the maturities and sinking fund payments. The board shall also fix the form of the bonds, optional call provisions and the method of giving notices of redemption.
Since the amount of the bonds to be sold exceeds $1 million, the board must publish a notice of the sale in a financial publication circulated throughout California. This notice is due 15 calendar days prior to the bond sale. Two weeks before the bonds sale, an official statement must comply with the Security Exchange Act requirements.
The Board of Trustees must advertise for bids at least two weeks in a daily or weekly newspaper of general circulation published in the county.
The bonds will then be offered for sale, at a discount not to exceed 5 percent. Should the process proceed smoothly, funds from the sale of the bonds could be delivered to the district as early as March 2009. Once the bonds are signed, the bond proceeds will be deposited in the Lassen County Treasury and credited to the district’s building fund.
Then the district must establish a plan for grade level configuration at the schools. McIntire said these decisions may be dictated to the district by the funding received from the state. The district is working with the Office of Public School Construction to define the scope of the project. The OPSC currently views the project as a modernization project.
“Until we submit cost estimates from our architect, which can’t be done until our architect signs a contract and begins schematic design work, and then develops cost estimates, we will not be able to determine the scope of the Diamond View School project,” McIntire said. “As a modernization project, the OPSC would fund the project based on its current student enrollment. Since Diamond View is currently a seventh and eighth grade facility, the project would be funded to replace the current classrooms. However, the current number of classrooms will not fit in the building once the design flaws are corrected, since the current classrooms are less than the 960 square foot minimum floor size for the classrooms that will replace them.”
The amount of the state’s contribution depends upon if the project is classified as modernization or new construction. It’s possible the project could contain elements of both classifications.
Finally the district must create a Facilities Master Plan to define the available funds to meet all of the district’s facility needs.
McIntire said plans for Diamond View School could not be completed before at least June 2009. Once plans are developed they are sent to the Division of the State Architect for review and approval. McIntire said the district should expect no less than six months for DSA approval of the plans.
Once the plans are approved by DSA, the OPSC will give final approval for project funding.
Then the project goes to the State Allocation Board. McIntire said he would not expect SAB approval until late winter or early spring of 2010. Once the state commits to the matching funds, the district must find a contractor for the project. If the contractor could begin work on the Diamond View project by the spring of 2010 it would be the spring of 2011 before completion of a one-year construction project, depending upon the final scope.
The district plans to use the bond funding to improve facilities at all three of its schools.
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