Cotati/Rohnert Park Unified School District Bond Issue, Measure B (June 2014)

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A Cotati/Rohnert Park Unified School District Bond Issue, Measure B ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in the Cotati/Rohnert Park Unified School District in Sonoma County, California, where it was approved.[1]

Measure B authorized the district to increase its debt by $80 million by issuing general obligation bonds in that amount in order to fund construction, upgrades, and improvements at district school sites.[2]

To repay the bond debt, additional property taxes in the amount of approximately $49 per $100,000 of assessed valuation per year were required.[2]

A 55 percent supermajority vote was required for the approval of Measure B.

Election results

Measure B
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 5,382 63.1%
No3,15036.9%
Election results from County of Sonoma Registrar of Voters

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[2]

To protect quality education and student safety with funding that cannot be taken by the State, shall Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District improve classrooms, science labs and school libraries to meet modern academic and safety standards; update classroom computers, instructional technology and infrastructure; and replace outdated and inefficient heating, ventilation, electrical and plumbing systems; by issuing $80 million in bonds, at legal rates,with citizens' oversight, annual audits, no money for administrators, and all funds staying local? [3]

Impartial analysis

The following impartial analysis of Measure B was prepared by the office of the county counsel:[2]

The California Constitution allows school districts to borrow money by issuing bonds to pay for construction, repair, replacement, and acquisition of school facilities if 55 percent of the voters who vote on the measure approve the sale of the bonds. The Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees has called for an election and placed on the ballot the question of whether to issue bonds in the amount of $80 million for construction, upgrades, and improvements at District school sites.

Money raised by bond sales can be used for the purposes and projects stated in the Bond Project List set forth in the Measure. Projects include repairing and upgrading existing classrooms and other facilities; upgrading classroom computers and instructional technology; improving earthquake and fire safety systems; improving school energy efficiency; upgrading campus security; removing hazardous materials such as lead and asbestos; and improving access for students and others with disabilities. As required by state law, the measure prohibits using bond proceeds for teacher or administrator salaries or other operating expenses.

The inclusion of a project on the Bond Project List is not a guarantee that the project will be funded or completed. The Measure states that the District's capital needs exceed the amount of the proposed bonds, and the District will seek funds from other sources to advance the Bond Project List as far as possible.

If the Measure is adopted, the District's Board will conduct annual, independent financial and performance audits to ensure that bond proceeds have been expended only on the projects on the Bond Project List. In addition, an Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee will be established within sixty days of the entry of the election results on the Board's minutes. The proceeds of the bonds will be maintained in a separate account in the County Treasury, and the Board must receive an annual report on the status of projects undertaken and the amount of bond proceeds received and expended in that year. These requirements are set out as "Accountability Safeguards" in the Measure.

If the Measure is approved, the District expects to sell the bonds in series over time. The funds to repay the bonds would be raised by an increase in property taxes based upon the value of land and improvements in the District. The interest rate on the bonds would depend on the market rate at the time the bonds are sold, but cannot exceed the rate set by state law. The Tax Rate Statement prepared by the District Superintendent, which follows this analysis, estimates the property tax levies required to pay off the bonds. The estimated tax levies are a projection, and could go up or down, depending on a number of factors including the timing and amount of bond sales, and changes in assessed value of property in the District. [3]

—Jeffrey M. Brax Deputy County Counsel[2]

Fiscal analysis

The following summary statement concerning the required taxes and fiscal impact of Measure B was prepared by Robert Haley, the superintendent of Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District:[2]

An election will be held in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District (the "District")on June 3, 2014 to authorize the sale of $80,000,000 in general obligation bonds. The following information is submitted in compliance with Sections 9400-9404 of the California Elections Code. The best estimate of the tax rate that would be required to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the sale of the first series of bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $.0490 per $100 ($49.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2014-15.

The best estimate of the tax rate that would be required to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the sale of the last series of bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $.0490 per $100 ($49.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2019-20.

The best estimate of the highest tax rate that would be required to fund this bond issue,based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing this statement, is $.0490 per $100 ($49.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.

These estimates are based on projections derived from information obtained from official sources. The actual tax rates and the years in which they will apply may vary depending on the timing of bond sales, the amount of bonds sold at each sale and actual increases in assessed valuations. The timing of the bond sales and the amount of bonds sold at any given time will be determined by the needs of the District. Actual assessed valuations will depend upon the amount and value of taxable property within the District as determined in the assessment and the equalization process.

REQUIRED STATEMENT REGARDING STATE MATCHING FUNDS MEASURE B Approval of Measure B does not guarantee that the proposed project or projects in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District that are the subject of bonds under Measure B will be funded beyond the local revenues generated by Measure B. The District's proposal for the project or projects assumes the receipt of matching state funds, which could be subject to appropriation by the Legislature or approval of a statewide bond measure. California Education Code §15122.5 [3]

—Robert Haley, Superintendent of Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District[2]

Support

Supporters

The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure B:[2]

  • Michael L Harrow CPA, 31-year resident
  • Jeff Nicks, parent and Public Safety Officer
  • Sandra Hollingsworth, grandparent and 53-year resident
  • Patricia Anderson, community volunteer and 40-year resident
  • Prudence K. Draper, City Historian and 64-year resident

Arguments in favor

Official arguments

The following was submitted as the official argument in favor of Measure B:[2]

Vote Yes on Measure B--repair and upgrade Cotati and Rohnert Park schools to prepare our local students for college and the competitive 21st-century job market. By law, all Measure B funds stay here and go directly to benefit Cotati and Rohnert Park students. Not one penny can be taken by the State or used for other purposes.

Many of our schools and classrooms are over 50 years old and built for a different era of education. Measure B provides much needed repair projects at each of our schools to ensure safe and well-maintained classrooms for all students.

Energy efficiency upgrades such as replacing aging, inefficient heating and ventilation systems will help save over $200,000 per year--funds that will be redirected to support core academic programs and classroom teaching.

By updating electrical wiring and installing reliable high-speed wireless networks, Measure B improves classroom instructional technology that's essential to building a strong academic foundation.

Our local schools continue to improve, which draws new families and students to our community. Measure B ensures all our students learn in updated classrooms and have the educational technology they need to succeed.

Vote Yes on B to: improve classrooms and science labs to meet modern academic standards; complete repairs to provide safe, well-maintained classrooms; provide equipment for 21st-century career technical education programs; update electrical infrastructure to support classroom computers and instructional technology; remove lead, asbestos and other hazardous materials from schools where present; repair leaking roofs and windows; replace outdated and costly heating, ventilation, electrical and plumbing.

To ensure mandatory fiscal accountability: all money from Measure B goes to our local schools; no funds can be taken by Sacramento; independent citizens' oversight and annual audits are required.

Vote Yes on B to keep Cotati and Rohnert Park schools on a path to improvement. [3]

—Michael L Harrow, Jeff Nicks, Sandra Hollingsworth, Patricia Anderson and Prudence K. Draper[2]

Opposition

No official arguments were submitted in opposition to Measure B. If you have an argument that you would like to see posted here, please email the Local Ballot Measure Project staff writer.

Related measures

Approveda Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District parcel tax, Measure D (June 2012)

See also

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