The Sonoma Valley Unified School District will probably sell the first series of bonds from the $120 million Measure E, passed by voters in November, sometime in September.
But instead of selling the bonds in a series of four sales three years apart, as initially proposed, the district will sell the bonds in three sales. At Tuesday’s school board meeting, the board approved a measure for the sale of the first set of bonds not to exceed $50 million.
School Superintendent Chuck Young told the board it made more sense to sell the bonds in three sales and to sell $50 million the first time instead of the projected $40 million. Originally, the district was going to sell $40 million in 2017, $30 million in 2020, $30 million in 2023 and $20 million in 2026.
Young said it made more sense to push projects up instead of facing the cost escalations the district would incur if it pushed the last bond sale out to 2026 as was originally planned.
Greg Isom, with Isom Advisors, the district’s bond advisor, told the board the district could have the money from the first sale by Sept. 21.
The board had to approve a pair of resolutions on the bonds sale. Isom told them that just because the measure said “not to exceed” $50 million, didn’t mean the board had to sell the entire $50 million. And that the “not to exceed” the 30-year payback didn’t preclude the district from paying the money back sooner.
He pointed out that the district’s 2017-18 preliminary assessed value is about $9.8 billion and that, over the past 15 years, the average assessed value growth is 5.66 percent.
“The district’s gross bonding capacity is approximately $245.8 million,” he said. “The district’s net bonding capacity, or current debt limit, is approximately $188.2 million.”
He said based on the debt, the tax rate is $42.50 per $100,000 of assessed value.
According to Isom’s projected timeline, the district could receive its bond rating by the end of this month, the pricing on the bonds the first week in September and the closing on Sept. 21.
The board and district administrators will be meeting with the campus principals on Monday, Aug. 14, to go over the timelines for the proposed projects. Young said after he met with the principals individually, they felt the process for slotting projects was fair and they supported it. But the board will meet with the principals as a group Monday.
In other business, Tenaya Dale, with Counterpoint Construction Services, the district’s construction management firm, gave a preliminary update on this summer’s projects.
She said the changes in the Altimira parking lot are finished, the Flowery HVAC replacement is done, the College and Career Center at the high school is almost finished, the Charter School was re-roofed and three HVAC units were replaced and the all-weather field at Adele Harrison is on schedule and should be finished in October.
And she said that Caltrans officials had been in contact to discuss the proposed drive-thru at the high school. That project, which was supposed to have been completed this summer, was postponed because Caltrans was still mulling it over.
Dale said she’d be back next month with a more complete report on the summer projects.