Santa Rosa City Schools save taxpayer $ with bond refinance
For the second time in the past few years, Santa Rosa City Schools has refinanced outstanding general obligation bonds, which will generate a total savings for taxpayers over time of $975,000 on Elementary bonds and $6.93 million for High School bonds.
As a result of low interest rates, the Prior Bonds (2011 General Obligation Refunding Bonds and 2013 General Obligation Refunding Bonds in the Elementary District, and 2013 General Obligation Refunding Bonds in the High School District) authorized by voters at previous elections were refunded and acquired at a lower rate (essentially refinanced) in order to lower debt service payments, which will lower property tax payments for property owners. Original bond proceeds were used to construct, upgrade and repair classrooms and expand school facilities. The refunding was authorized by the Santa Rosa City Schools Board at their May 12 meeting.
Also in May, Santa Rosa City Schools sold the final bonds in the Measure I and L bond program, authorized by voters in the 2014 election. In total, the bond program will provide $229 million: $175 million for the Santa Rosa High School District from Measure I, and $54 million for the Santa Rosa Elementary School District from Measure L. With warm, safe and dry schools as our continued focus, Summer 2021 bond projects will include:
- HVAC (Heating and cooling) and roofing at Steele Lane Elementary and Piner High
- The final phase of Interior Classroom Security Locks installation
- Completion of electronic marquees at school sites
- Technology updates
COC Submits Annual Reports
The Citizens' Oversight Committees (COC) for the Measures I and L Bond programs on July 25, 2018, submitted annual reports for the 2017 calendar year to the Board of Education. Mike Behler and Kristin Hendricks represented the COC and presented the reports, which the Board accepted. The meeting agenda can be found at Agenda Online, July 25, item F1. Links to the presentation are below:
Board Approves Resolution to Issue Bonds
April 25, 2018 - Santa Rosa City Schools Board approved a resolution to issue High School District General Obligation Bonds, 2014 Election, 2018 Series C and D, and Elementary School District General Obligation Bonds, 2014 Election, 2018 Series D and E. More information is available in the board agenda at AgendaOnline, April 25, 2018, items F9 and F 10.
Board Approves Re-roofing/HVAC Projects
March 14, 2018 - Santa Rosa City Schools Board awarded the bid for four re-roofing and HVAC projects to Matrix HG Inc. The projects will begin in summer 2018, at Maria Carrillo High, Elsie Allen High, Hilliard Comstock Middle, and James Monroe Elementary. These schools were brought forward based on the needs assessment for each school and a review of work orders identifying the greatest areas of need for repair. Santa Rosa High and Herbert Slater Middle will also be brought to the Board for consideration, once state approval is granted and the projects are bid. More information is available in the board agenda at AgendaOnline, March 14, items F5 - F8.
Board Report - December 20, 2017
The bond program completed roofing, heating, and air conditioning work at several schools last summer, saving more than $1 million in deductive change orders from the projects. Technology updates include the rollout of a new VoIP phone system and new clocks/speakers in each classroom. The internet connection has been greatly improved, from 1 gigabyte to 10 gigabytes - like moving from a one-lane road to a super highway of information. Chief Technology/Bond Officer Rick Edson, Director of Facilities Mike Braff, and Director of Technology Adrian Bica, updated the school board on bond projects, including 2017 facilities projects. The meeting agenda can be found at AgendaOnline, December 20, item F4. The presentation included:
Bond Refinance Saves $2.5 million
September 14, 2017 - Santa Rosa City Schools has refinanced outstanding general obligation bonds, which will generate savings for District taxpayers of more than $2.5 million over time. The prior bonds being refunded were originally authorized by voters at previous elections in 1991 and 2002. Original bond proceeds were used to construct, upgrade and repair classrooms and expand school facilities throughout the high school district. The average interest rate on the prior bonds was 4.89%. The true interest cost for the refunding bonds was 1.72%, a difference that will save property owners $2,585,192.22 over time. Property owners in the District will see a reduced tax rate on future tax bills. In addition, the refinancing shortened the outstanding debt from the previous terms by two years. The refinancing was authorized by the Santa Rosa City Schools Board at their August 23rd meeting. “We take our responsibility as fiduciaries to our community seriously and felt that locking in taxpayer savings in this historically low interest rate environment was the right thing to do,” said President Jenni Klose.
COC Submits Annual Reports
The Citizens' Oversight Committees (COC) for the Measures I and L Bond programs on September 13, 2017, submitted annual reports for the 2016 calendar year to the Board of Education. Mike Behler, Mindy Breslin and Jessica Rasmussen represented the COC and presented the reports, which the Board accepted. In future years, the COC plans to present the annual reports in the Spring. The meeting agenda can be found at Agenda Online, September 13, item F4. Links to the presentation are below:
Piner High Stadium Bid Awarded
September 13 2017 - Santa Rosa City Schools Board awarded the bid for the Piner High School Stadium Lighting Project to Carr's Construction Service for $1,838,100. The anticipated project start date is October 2017, with an anticipated completion in January 2018.
Board Report - August 23, 2017
Warm, safe and dry. It is the priority for bond facilities projects at Santa Rosa City Schools. That means roofing, heating, and air conditioning work at several schools - each summer, when school is not in session - over the course of several years. Technology projects can move faster. The technology program is now working on network cabling and a new VoIP phone system. Chief Technology/Bond Officer Rick Edson, Director of Facilities Mike Braff, and Director of Technology Adrian Bica, updated the school board on bond projects, including summer 2017 facilities projects, and Bond expenditures through May 2017. The meeting agenda can be found at AgendaOnline, August 23, item F2. The presentation included:
SR Charter School for the Arts Reopening
Santa Rosa City Schools celebrated the reopening of the Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts (SRCSA) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 9, 2017. The kindergarten-8th grade campus was expanded and modernized during the previous two years, with upgrades to existing classrooms and the addition of several new buildings. During the construction, SRCSA’s teachers and 360 students moved to a temporary campus about a mile away.
The remodeled campus on Humboldt Street has a new two-story classroom building, and a new visual arts studio, black box theater, dance studio, and kiln room for ceramics. The school also has new science labs, a new administration building, an expanded stage in the multi-purpose room, and new paving. Student-designed features were incorporated into the new landscaping and playground. SRCSA also welcomed a new principal, Kristen Vogel. Quattrocchi Kwok Architects designed the new facilities. During construction, the campus was named one of the Top 20 North Bay Real Estate Projects by the North Bay Business Journal (December 2016).
Board Report - May 10, 2017
The Santa Rosa City Schools Board received an update on the status of the Piner High School Stadium Field Lighting Project, which is expected to go out to bid in June. The project includes six lighting poles with LED lights that are designed to focus light onto the field, a public address sound system, and a concrete fence that will act as a sound barrier between the stadium and nearby homes. The meeting agenda can be found at AgendaOnline, item F3. A link to the presentation is below:
COC Reviews Annual Audit
The Citizens' Oversight Committees (COC) for the Measures I and L Bond programs met on May 9, 2017 to review the independent audit report for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The audit had no findings for the year ending June 30, 2016. The Measure L COC, overseeing the bond program for the Elementary District, welcomed two new members, Judy O'Donnell and Jessica Rasmussen. With a quorum, the committee elected Kristin Hendricks as Chair and Jessica Rasmussen as Vice Chair. The Measure I COC, overseeing the High School District bond program, reviewed a draft Measure I Annual Report, prepared by Mindy Breslin and Chair Mike Behler. Both committees received reports on current bond expenditure status, and an update on current and future projects. The COCs plan to meet again in August.
Board Report - March 22, 2017
The Santa Rosa City Schools Board received an update on the Measures I and L Bond programs, which began in 2014 and will affect every school in the District over the next 8-10 years. Chief Technology/Bond Officer Rick Edson gave a presentation about the history of the program, an update on Bond sales, an overview of Bond projects (including Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts construction and renovation, and technology and facilities projects), and Bond expenditures through January 2017. The meeting agenda can be found at AgendaOnline, item F2. Links to the presentation and to the Board-approved Measure I & L Implementation Worksheet are below:
New Director of Facilities
In March 2017, Santa Rosa City Schools made a welcome addition to its Measures I & L Bond team. Michael Braff is the new Director of Facilities, responsible for planning and overseeing construction projects and the modernization of our school sites. Braff held a similar position in the Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento. He is also a general contractor with more than 20 years experience in the construction industry. Braff says his goal is to deliver clean, safe and attractive schools to our community.
Approval of SRCSA Phase 2
March 8, 2017 - Santa Rosa City Schools Board approved a bid from Murray Building, Inc. for Phase 2 of the Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts construction and modernization project. The project is funded by a combination of a California State Charter School Facilities Matching Grant and Measure L Bond funds. Phase 1 included new construction and landscaping. Phase 2 will address buildings and classrooms not included in the original scope of work.
The agenda item can be found at AgendaOnline, item F3.
Summer Roofing Projects
The District is recommending approximately $7,800,000 for Summer 2017 roofing projects. The following school sites were selected based on overall condition of roofs and determined to have the greatest need: Albert Biella Elementary, Hidden Valley Elementary, James Monroe Elementary, Herbert Slater Middle School, Piner High School. Although there is a great need for roof repairs and replacement throughout the District, projects must be timed so that they do not interrupt classes (summer), and be completed with the limited number of roofing contractors available. Roofing projects will continue over the next few years. A preliminary assessment of all our roofs by PBK Construction identified over $35 million of roofing needs throughout the District.
Board Approves Bond-related Pools
November 9, 2016 - Santa Rosa City Schools Board approved architectural firm and construction management firm pools for Measures I & L bond projects. The approved firms have completed the Request for Proposal/Qualifications process. The pools will streamline project assignments; however, projects will still be brought to the board for approval. At the November 9th meeting, directors expressed a preference for local firms whenever possible. The approved architectural firms are: ATI Architects and Engineers – Danville; AXIA Architects – Santa Rosa; Bartos Architects – San Mateo; Quattrocchi Kwok Architects – Santa Rosa; and TLCD Architects – Santa Rosa. The approved construction management firms are: Counterpoint Construction Services – Santa Rosa; Greystone West Company – Sonoma; and RGM and Associates – Santa Rosa.
Board Gives Direction for Next Major Projects
Sept. 14, 2016 - Santa Rosa City Schools Board voted unanimously to move ahead with six major bond projects across the District’s campuses, for an estimated total of $65 million. This approval by the Board directs staff to begin the design, planning and bidding of the projects. The projects will then come back to the Board for decisions on future implementation. The six projects are:
- Roofing ($15 to 18 million)
- Mechanical / Heating and Air Conditioning ($7 to 10 million)
- Montgomery High School Classrooms ($16 million)
- Comstock / Cesar Chavez Language Academy Modernization/Construction ($16 million)
- Piner High School Stadium Lights ($2 million)
- Maria Carrillo High School Turf Field, Track, and Press Box ($3 million)
The Board has already approved Bond expenditures toward a major renovation of the Charter School for the Arts, which is still in progress. It has also approved Bond funding of technology improvements across all 25 school sites, including computer upgrades for teachers, Chromebook carts for schools, and wireless internet access across each campus. The District is committed to providing a safe and modern learning environment for all students, with current and reliable technology and labs, and school repairs to support student success.