A Voice of San Diego story on a bond that the Poway Unified School District used to borrow $105 million in 2011 was picked up by media outlets across the country. Much attention was focused on the time frame to re-pay the bond: $982 million between 2033 and 2051.
On Wednesday, the district released a statement concerning bond measure financing:
The Poway Unified School District (PUSD) would like to provide the following information regarding its issuance of bonds to provide financing for school facilities projects approved by voters in the Proposition U and Proposition C bond measures.
In 2002 the voters of the PUSD School Facilities Improvement District (SFID) approved Proposition U authorizing the District to issue $198 million in bonds for modernization and new construction projects at the 24 oldest schools in the District. The ballot language for Proposition U contained an extensive listing of the individual projects proposed for each school site.
In 2008 the SFID voters approved Proposition C authorizing PUSD to issue an additional $179 million in bonds to ensure the timely and full completion of all projects outlined in Proposition U and to include additional upgrades for campus security and technology infrastructure.
Combined, Proposition U and Proposition C authorized the District to issue $377 million in bonds to finance the building program for which voters agreed to be taxed at a rate of $55 per $100,000 of assessed valuation of their property.
The fifth and final bond issuance of the building program in 2011 for the amount of $105 million has a total repayment ratio of 9.3 times the principal amount. However, when looking at all five bond issuances since 2002, including the $105 million issued in 2011, the total amount approved by voters has a repayment ratio for taxpayers of 4.2 times the entire principal amount issued.
With this commitment from the taxpayers living within the SFID, the District qualified for and received an additional $92.5 million in matching state building funds that have no obligation for repayment. In addition, PUSD was able to contribute $73 million of restricted facility funds it had received over several years that could only be used on school modernization or new construction projects. These two sources of funds, in addition to the $377 million approved by the voters, enabled our District to complete a total of $542 million of modernization and new construction projects at our 24 oldest schools.
As a result, the 22,000 PUSD students who attend the 24 oldest schools in the SFID now have equitable and appropriate learning facilities that have been improved to provide another 30-plus years of service to our students and community.
Superintendent John Collins stated, “The most important value received from the building program that is difficult to quantify is the educational value of providing today’s students with quality learning facilities. It is also difficult to calculate the dollar value of savings realized by avoiding the inflated construction costs of postponing the completion of the building program for a decade or more. It is these benefits that the Board of Education and the Poway Unified School District believe the voters of the SFID approved and the students and community members have received.”