New Haven Unified School District

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Measure M Bond Citizens Oversight Committee

“To continue critical school renovation and modernization projects, replace old portables with permanent classrooms, update school safety and security, improve student access to computers and technology, upgrade athletic facilities, increase the energy efficiency of classrooms and buildings, replace, acquire, construct and renovate District facilities and provide District-wide technology improvements, shall the New Haven Unified School District issue $125 million in bonds at legal interest rates with an independent citizens’ oversight committee?”
Solicitation of Members
Supporting Documentation

Response to Press Inquiry/FAQs

Q1.   Please provide the date of the voter approval and the amount approved of all previously approved bond programs for which there remains outstanding debt:

NHUSD Response: The District has received bond authorizations on four previous occasions (1987, 1993, 1996, and 2003) for a total of $221 million.

Q2. The average Assessed Valuation (AV) of a single-family house in your district.

NHUSD Response: The 2014-15 average assessed valuation of single family homes in the District is $384,696 and the 2014-15 median assessed valuation of single family homes in the District is $364,465.

Q3.  Does the District have any current parcel taxes?
NHUSD Response: None

Q4. The list of projects on which the money from the proposed bond measure will be spent. Please also provide us with an explanation of the community input that went into developing the list. And please provide us with any web site links at which voters can review the details of the projects.

NHUSD Response: The Board approved bond resolution calling for the November 2014 Election provides a general list of school bond renovation and modernization projects under Exhibit A. The list is an outcome of the District's Master Plan that details a site by site analysis of the Facilities projects and Technology needs in the future. The Master Plan was approved by the Board on December 10, 2013. During the time of the Master Plan development the district staff along with the Architects met with community members to obtain input from the various stake holders.

The District’s Master Plan is available here for review.

Q5.  Please also explain how you arrived at the amount of bonding you are seeking. Please include any polling that has been conducted in preparation for this bond measure. And please provide us with the staff report and school board vote to place the measure on the ballot.

NHUSD Response: The total projected needs as per the master plan is over $300 million. A $300 million bond would require a tax rate of $150 per $100,000 of AV. As this rate was very high, District staff working with Financial Advisors reviewed previous bond issuance, analyzed the existing facilities conditions and the needs in the area of Technology and arrived at a rate that would be reasonable to the tax payers and also enable the District to work on its Facilities projects and continue the investments made in Technology towards a 21st Century learning environment. As a result, a recommendation was made to the Board to approve a $125 million bond with a tax rate of $48 per $100,000 of AV. Please see attached report of staff recommendation to the Board.

Q6.   If you anticipate that any of the projects will result in operational savings, please explain how that will result. (For example, in the past, the items most commonly identified to us are energy and maintenance savings.) Also, please explain how you intend to budget the savings – will it go toward augmenting ongoing school operations, toward retirement of the bond debt or for other purposes?

NHUSD Response: The District plans to pursue a number of projects under Measure M that are designed to improve the operational efficiencies of our facilities. For example, our project list specifically references our intent to replace “inefficient electrical, lighting, heating, plumbing and ventilation systems” and to “install solar panels to reduce energy costs.” In addition to these, we would hope that any of the work we do to modernize and better maintain our facilities will create ongoing operational savings. Our view is that it’s cheaper to replace aging systems before they fail than to address facility failures on an emergency basis. We also believe that new permanent structures will be more efficient to operate than the portable buildings that they will replace. Any savings realized by these projects will benefit ongoing school operations.

Q7:  A list of all voter approvals the district has sought in the past five years, identifying the measures and the success or failure at the polls.

NHUSD Response: The district has attempted two parcel tax measures within the past two years. Neither measure attained the two-thirds requirement for passage. Measure B, on the ballot on May 3, 2011 received a 66.4% Yes Vote. Measure H, on the ballot on June 5, 2012 received a 63% Yes vote.

Q8: Any other factors to be taken into consideration?

NHUSD Response: The District in 2012-13 received the RTTT-D federal grant for $29 million to be allocated over a five year period. A part of this grant related to Technology and Personalization. This enabled the district to implement the roll out of chrome books for our students on a 1:1 ratio at all grades at the middle and high schools, and on a 2:1 ratio at the elementary grades. This bond measure will enable the district to continue this investment in Technology and make progress towards 21st century learning environment. In addition the bond measure will enable the District to improve its technology infrastructure not only to keep pace with the changes in technology but also enhance it to accommodate the infusion of instructional technology.

Q9: The contact information for the proponents and opponents of Measure M?

NHUSD Response: The following signatures were filed as the Ballot Measure Argument in favor of Measure M:

a. Paul Stickland, President, New Haven Teachers Association
b. Mary Schlarb, Grandmother/Decoto resident
c. Richard Valle, Alameda County Supervisor
d. Kathleen Sprotte, Parent
e. Bert Padua, Retired Executive Director-Alameda County Office of Education.

There was no argument filed against Measure M.