Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shifting Bond Expenditures to General Fund Obligations

There are two examples I know of in which expenditures that were to be paid out of bond proceeds have been shifted to the district's operating budget.

The first is the purchase of the Central Vision Clinic property to make room for the new auditorium. The purchase was to be paid for with bond funds but a portion of that cost is now found on p. 162 of the 2010-11 budget as item 610 "Redemption of Principal" ($200,000) and item 621 "Regular Interest" ($7,178).

The other is the resurfacing of the track. Members of the community turf group (in which I participated) were told by the bond manager that resurfacing of the track was never in the bond plans, that is was part of a "wish list," and that it would only be completed if there was money left over at the end of the bond. This meant that the cost of installing the turf would also need to include the resurfacing since the track would be damaged during turf installation. I've gone back and checked, however, and in the "2008 Bond Scope of Work" that was adopted by a formal vote of the Board on April 6,2009, it clearly states that "The track will be resurfaced." (See p. 2 from that document reproduced above). It does not state that the track will be resurfaced only if funds are available.

On p. 162 of the 2010-11 budget is item 530 "Improvements Other Than Buildings" in the amount of $1,230,985. Part of that is approximately $92,000 to resurface the track (the estimated cost quoted to the turf group). [As a side note: The turf itself cost $360,000, $100,000 of which was donated by community members. Installing turf allowed the district to eliminate the construction of new practice fields planned as part of the bond at a cost of $1.3 million.]

I don't know what else originally included in the bond has found its way into the district's operating budget but I suspect there is more. I do know that just the items I've listed above total nearly $300,000 or the equivalent of 4.25 teachers. Shifting bond expenses to our general budget is costing us teachers for the coming school year.

Given the savings realized by building during an economic slump (estimated to be several million dollars), the district should have had plenty of money to complete all of the elements promised in the bond. Instead, they have shifted some of those costs into this year's operating budget. This does not strike me as good bond management. Yet the bond manager has been rehired for next year with a new job title and a 12.5% raise. And we are laying off teachers.


  1. You go KS! I'm going to share your blog with my facebook friends. I blog a little also, but not much lately, and never about anything serious. But I'm a serious guy at heart - maybe that's why I'm not writing much humor these days!
    Keep up the pressure!

  2. And yet, the classified staff that were lucky enough, and thankful, to keep their jobs receive a 0% cost of living increase in wages and like licensed staff, are expected to cover the duties for those positions lost.