July 11, 2012 

$12M School Leads to $48M in Debts
District scrambles as debt payment looms
June 10, 2012 | Natasha Lindstrom | www.vvdailypress.com

EXCERPT: HELENDALE * Two years ago, the Helendale School District took on $5.2 million in extra debt to finance a new school campus - despite stern warnings from the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools that its repayment plan was too risky and would burden taxpayers with an "unreasonably high cost."

     Now, as the district turns to teacher layoffs amid dire financial straits, a group of parents is pushing to recall board members they accuse of sitting idly through irresponsible moves that could push the district into insolvency.

     The 2010 construction of a $12 million school has led to an estimated $48 million in taxpayer-funded debt, and district officials are scrambling to secure a way to repay the $5.2 million payment owed in August 2014. ... 

     ...Despite not having permanent financing in place, officials pressed forward with the construction of a $12 million campus to house Riverview Middle School and the new Academy of Careers and Explorations charter school. Amid sinking property values and a relatively small tax base in the rural community, the HSD could only issue $4 million of the $20 million G.O. bond measure in 2009. ...    

    ...But an April 2010 letter from County Schools cautioned the district against issuing the BAN debt. County Schools Business Advisory Services Director Teri Kelly asserted that there was not enough evidence to show the district would have the ability to repay the BANs, the district was relying on unusual bond structures that might not be available and the action could wind up impacting the district's general fund.

     "Additionally, the total combined cost to the Helendale taxpayers for the completion of this project comes at an unreasonably high cost that should be disclosed to the public," Kelly stated.

     Under the district's plan, issuing bonds in 2009 and 2014 to raise $8 million for the $12 million school would end up saddling the district with $41.7 million in total debt obligation, according Kelly. That didn't include another $6.35 million owed from the capital lease loan used to finance the school while the district waited on the state grant. ... ... HSD officials are hoping that enrollment continues to grow to help offset the cuts, with margins tighter for the small district that has only three schools. At about 760 students, the district's entire enrollment is less than a third the size of the Victor Valley's comprehensive high schools.

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In an effort to to support CBOCs members CaLBOC is pleased to introduce a Question & Answer column. To submit a question please email: DearAliciaCalboc@ gmail.com
Dear Alicia - Questions & Answers
Disbanding Oversight Committees
Q: If we were approved for a 20 million dollar bond, but only issued 4 million of it so far, can the oversight committee be disbanded until another issuance of the bond occurs?


A: Your district must have an oversight committee to oversee a Prop 39 bond receiving under 2/3 votes or if the ballot language included there to be an oversight committee. The Committee must be appointed within 60 days of the election, and then should remain to review bond expeditures and to review the annual financial and performance audits. Please see Article XIIIA, Section 1, where it states that these audits must be performed each year until the bond proceeds are expended. Expended would mean that the audits should occur until all funds in the "Building Fund" have been withdrawn. It would not be the intent of the law to terminate a committee once proceeds have been fully committed because the expenditures would still be subject to change and could in fact lead to overages (resulting from change orders). See California Education Code 15278 and  See Article XIIIA, Section 1(b)(3)(C) and (D) at: 
In addition, Senate Bill 423 changed Education Code 15278 to require CBOC's to be presented with the annual financial and performance audit no later than March 31st of each year.  Therefore, the CBOC/COC must also remain intact to review these required audit reports.  

AB 1908, School bonds:  www.calboc.com/reports/AB_1908.pdf 
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$12M School Leads to $48M in Debts
Dear Alicia - Questions & Answers
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