School District Maneuvers to Save Money on Bonds

La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board members on Tuesday night passed a resolution to issue a second set of 2017 Measure LCF bonds in March and authorize the refinancing of 2011 general obligation bonds.
The issuance and sale of the 2017 bonds are for $30 million, according to a district statement, which also said that the refinanced bonds are not to exceed $8 million.
The reason for combining the two actions is to save money on issuance expense costs because there are fixed costs for both sets of bonds, said Adam Bauer, president of the municipal advisory firm Fieldman, Rolapp and Associates.
“By combining them into one bond sale you get efficiencies of doing two at once,” he said. The issuance savings, according to documents presented by Bauer, are approximately $125,000, and gross savings in total refunding would be $515,917.
The updated issuance of the bonds, apart from saving tax- payer money, will take advantage of lower construction costs and pipeline projects in the district’s facilities master plan sooner than planned.
“The sound bite is if we do the refinancing we save the taxpayers about a half-million dollars and if we issue the bonds early we get more bang for our buck because we start our projects earlier,” board member Dan Jeffries said Tuesday.
Measure LCF is a $149 million general obligation bond passed by La Cañada Flintridge taxpayers to pay for capital projects.
Documents presented by Bauer showed the district would see a 4% increase in assessed home values for fiscal year 2020-21 and predicted that the overall assessed value in 2020 would exceed $7.8 billion, which officials have said would help increase the district’s purchasing power.
The board also approved a first reading of the second interim financial report, which showed the district will meet its financial obligations for the current fiscal year and the two subsequent fiscal years. The first interim financial report was given in December.
“The final numbers are still coming in,” said Mark Evans, associate superintendent of business and administrative services. “There’s a lot of possibilities but we’re never sure what the May revise and final budget will bring.”
The report shows the district’s local revenue declining from more than $8.5 million in 2020-21 to more than $6 million in 2021-22, and total revenues dropping from more than $49.5 million in 2020-21 to more than $48.2 million the next year. But that forecast comes with an important asterisk.
Evans pointed out that the report does not project parcel tax revenues in 2021-22 because that levy is set to expire. But parcel tax renewal is set for the March 3 ballot as Measure LC, so passage would keep the revenue flowing. The tax finances programs rather than facilities, whose needs are addressed by Measure LCF.
The estimated cost to the district for a parcel tax election is about $120,000. Measure LC seeks to continue the tax at the current rate of $450 per parcel, with adjustments for the annual consumer price index to offset inflation. The vote would extend a tax that was passed in 2014 and is set to expire in June 2021.
Also regarding the financial report, expenditures that board members discussed included legal and other costs, such as that of real-time monitoring of air quality in connection with the Devil’s Gate Dam sediment removal project at Hahamongna Watershed Park. Los Angeles County Public Works official Steve Burger has told The Outlook that sediment hauling, which stopped for the winter, will resume on April 16.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said the district’s costs are approximately $235,000 but are ongoing.
Comprehensive school site safety plans, required by that state education code, were also discussed at the meeting.
The board listened to plans for La Cañada, Palm Crest and Paradise Canyon elementary schools and La Cañada High School.
Jamie Lewsadder, LCUSD’s chief technology officer, said she would be walking and talking to staff members about their feelings regarding fencing around schools, policies and traffic routes for the next few weeks.
Sinnette said three certificated and three classified employees were recently selected for the first month of the district’s 2020 Employee Recognition Program.
They are Claudia Alequin, LCHS office manager; Effie Edwards, office manager at Paradise Canyon; Jill Oliver, paraprofessional at Palm Crest; Laurie Hopkins, a 4th-grade teacher at La Cañada Elementary; LCHS 7/8 English teacher Leslie Baldwin; and LCHS social studies teacher and ASB adviser Sarah Beattie.

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