School Board Workshop Takes On Master Facilities Plan

The seats were filled at the Garden Room of the Vets Building on Tuesday, Sept. 3, and the conversations were soft-spoken. While the September heat filtered through the crowd, cool heads were in evidence, and the hot topic of school facilities was addressed in depth.

School Board President Kathy Paspalis called the meeting to order, and turned it over to Superintendent Dave LaRose.

“What are the next steps?” La Rose began, easily sweeping past the previous weeks of controversy and stepping forward to face the future. “What are the things that we have learned here? While we have had to reorganize, this conversation is not over. Nothing could be further from the truth, so what is the framework?”

Offering to open the floor to comments after the presentation, he continued, “There were a number of legitimate questions, and we want to be responsive – not from a persuasive point of view – but let us address and process and quantify just the facts, on the parcel tax, on the needs assessment, on the bond measure; we need a master facilities plan, regardless of how we pursue it.”

Turing the floor over to Gil Fullen, vice president of Beatty Balfour, the construction company that has done the athletic field and other projects in the capital improvements campaign, the workshop went into slide mode.

Awkwardly, the information presented was unreadable, full pages packed with details that the audience could barely decipher. While letting the audience know that this information would be online at the district site, it was still difficult to use the presentation and a few sentences from each page had to suffice for the complete details.  Fullen was gracious about answering questions, and the audience had some well aimed inquiries.

School Board candidate Steve Levin asked about prioritizing needs, with safety issues taking precedence over cosmetic concerns, and Fullen noted that the categories of safety and security had been given top status.

With $850,000 of capital improvements currently underway at the schools, the concerns regard the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and post-Newton security challenges were brought up, but the bottom line continued to come back to the bottom line; how much money?

A parcel tax and bond overview was presented by consultants Chris Everett and Chet Wang. Reporting on Culver City’s previous bond, Measure T, a $40 million borrowing that passed in 1996, the news was positive. Owing to a refinance made by the district, the $97 million once owed was now down to only $33 million, and the debt was expected to be paid off by 2038.

Everett and Wang also noted that of the 106 school districts that put a bond on the ballot in the last election, 91 of the measures had passed. Of the district that voted on a parcel tax and a bond on the same ballot, three out of four passed.

Culver City’s maximum allowable bond request would top out at $169 million, in keeping with the current assessed values, costing property owners $300 per year.

The April 2014 City Council race will be the next election that the bond could be placed on the ballot.

Updated – 9/5/2013

Please visit the District’s website at www.ccusd.org and look under News and Announcements to find presentations regarding Balfour Construction’s CCUSD Work Priority Cost Study, a Bond and Parcel Tax Overview and updates to the District’s on-going capital projects.

In addition, videos of the workshop are available by clicking here.

www.culvercitysymphony.org

1 Comment

  1. Judith,

    There is some clarification needed. $97 million is the total amount that was owed (with interest) when the $40 million in bonds were issued. The district was congratulated for having a comparatively low 2.4-ish ratio of principal + interest to principal ratio. I’m pretty certain that only the principal on Measure T is down to $33 million. There is still interest to be paid on top of that.

    I’m also fairly certain that the pay-off date was brought up to 2033 in a recent refinancing of the bonds.

    Regarding the total bond request, $169 million is actually the maximum combined debt load of all bonds, including measure T. So, $169 million less $33 million gives the district $136 million of debt ceiling remaining.

    However, there is also a limit to how much the district can ask for in each bond measure. That is $60 per $100,000 of assessed value. Everett & Wang stated that equates to roughly $105 million at today’s assessed property values. So, the most that the district can ask for in one bond measure is $105 million. But the bond consultants determined that the public was only willing to pay around $40 per $100,000 assessed value. This equated to a number somewhere around $75 million, I believe.

    Everett and Wang stated that the median assessed value of a home in Culver City is around $300,000. So, the annual median tax levy per household would be around $120 for a $75 million bond.

    To be clear, I asked when a property’s assessed value was determined, and the response was when the property changed hands in a sale. So, a home purchased recently in my neighborhood for $850,000 would pay 8.5 x $40 = $340/year. A home purchased in 1980 for $150,000 would pay 1.5 x $40 = $60/year.

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