- For 2 years in a row, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association has found that the Prop O Bond Program is one of the two most transparent bond programs in the County. When the 2014 reports are available, they will be posted. The 2013 related articles and reports are here:
All are invited to the National City Middle School Prop O Modernization Project 2 Topping Out Ceremony on Wednesday April 16, 2014 at National City Middle School. A topping-out ceremony is a traditional construction milestone where the contractor and owner celebrate placing the last piece of structural steel (usually the highest piece) on the project. While the piece placed may not be the actual last piece of steel, the ceremony is still held to commemorate meeting this milestone. Meanwhile a lot of other work is still in progress such as constructing walls and installing utilities. History of Topping Out Ceremonies
Six of the first nine projects have received either Gold (2) or Platinum (4) certifications from the US Green Building Council. These projects have been designed to reduce energy consumption and reduce the impact on the environment. In addition to the energy savings resulting from the new energy efficient buildings, high energy use portables or old buildings were replaced on each of the school campuses.
National City Middle School Project 1 has received LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council (Feb 2014).
Mar Vista High Modernization Project 1 has received LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council (Jan 2014).
Chula Vista High Modernization Project 1 has received LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council (Dec 2013).
Hilltop High Modernization Project 1 has received LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council (Dec 2013).
Montgomery High Modernization Project 1 has received LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council (Dec 2013).
Sweetwater Union High Modernization Project 1 has received LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council (Dec 2013).
CHULA VISTA — A citizens committee that oversees bond money for the Sweetwater Union High School District said Tuesday during a special meeting that the school board has some improvements to make with regard to funding priorities.
Committee members took turns suggesting ways the district could improve on its management of a $644 million general obligation bond initiative to modernize all campuses.
Proposition O is subject to strict accountability requirements, including annual audits and review by an independent citizens’ bond oversight committee.
Committee members are appointed by the school board and are responsible for informing the public on the expenditure of taxpayers’ money.
“I’m hoping that we can give the district as a committee some guidance for the future,” said committee chairman Nick Marinovich.
The school board is responsible for monitoring, prioritization of current projects and spending levels of individual projects.
Committee ideas included more community input, a potential bond advisory group at each campus and more structure, specifically prioritization with how it manages construction projects related to Proposition O, which voters passed in 2006.
Not all $644 million in bonds can be sold at the same time because of tax rate limitations, leaving the district in a lull with regard to other construction.
The initial plan was for three future bond sales, but because the assessed value of property has declined in the district the timing and size of the future bond sales is uncertain.
“We’ve got this two-year hiatus where the assessed value hasn’t caught up,” Marinovich said. “We need to have some more strategic thinking for what direction this district should go especially in light of having a whole new ball game before we know it.”
The school board has three members and two vacancies following resignations of two trustees after guilty pleas to criminal charges in the last few months. Two of the sitting trustees are facing charges in the same corruption scandal.
Phase one of Proposition O combined $180 million from the first bond sale in March 2008 with $15 million remaining from the earlier Proposition BB and about $62 million in state funding to renovate 10 schools and accomplish several small projects.
“We’ve got $464 million left, plus whatever we can garner from state match so we can leverage those funds into our schools,” said Tom Calhoun, district chief facilities executive.
He added that more bonds couldn’t be sold for at least another year and a half.
“Even though the market may be recovering, the assessed valuation doesn’t recover as fast,” he said.
Committee member Kevin O’Neill expressed an interest in listing priorities.
“First and foremost we need to decide how we’re going to spend this money and what’s important to us,” he said.
One thing everyone agreed on is that communication is key.
“If the district is transparent and straight with the committee … it’s a lot easier to move forward and creates confidence,” Marinovich said.
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Prop O is mentioned in article about proposed school district merger in Voice of San Diego.
In the April 2013 issue of the CASH Register, an article written by Mark Epstein was published. While it was written prior to the enactment of AB 182 in October 2013, there is still good information about Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABs) in the article. Read more here: CASH CAB Article April 2013
The Sweetwater Union High School District needs two members on the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee. There is one vacancy for someone who is a member of a Business Organization (such as a Chamber of Commerce) and one vacancy for an at-large member. If appointed, terms for new members will be through June 30, 2016.
The application and information about the process is located on the CBOC Webpage.
Information regarding the SUHSD Bond Anticipation Notes (BANs), an article on school district bonding and an article about Grossmont UHSD have been added to the CBOC Correspondence web page.
Amid widespread concern about perceived “pay-to-play” in the industry, the federal agency that oversees the nation’s municipal bond market is significantly ramping up its scrutiny of bond underwriters. Read More
The 2011-12 Prop O Performance Audit and the District response to the audit have been uploaded along with the Financial Audit. They are available under Annual Reports/Audits