The Pleasanton Unified School District trustees have unanimously approved steps to sell more bonds from Measure I1, a $270 million bond issue authorized by voters in the November 2016 election.
The district in 2017 sold $70 million worth of the bonds, leaving about $200 million. Now, because of projected increases in enrollment, the district wants to issue $90 million more to complete more buildings and update worn out equipment.
Another $110 million would be left for the district to tap into later.
Trustees voted to commit to the bond sale at their Aug. 13 meeting. They said they wanted to act quickly to take advantage of lower interest rates that make it cheaper to finance bond payback. They hope to meet the deadline to put the measure on the ballot with California’s March 3 presidential primary, saving the district some election costs.
One of the steps the board approved was hiring consulting firm TWBW, at $6500 a month, to poll the community between Aug. 23 and Sept. 6 to see if it is likely the public will back the bond sales. TWBW would also be available later for other consulting, if the election goes forward.
At issue is tailoring the property tax to pay for the bond. Since assessed valuation has risen since the last bond sale in 2017, the district could charge property owners about $46 instead of $49 per $100,000 per assessed valuation.
The school board said that many property owners will prefer to continue that tax rate at $49, with the additional money doing more for schools to take care of buildings and make repairs.
For a $1 million property, Pleasanton homeowners would be saving $30 annually. But collectively, that $3 per $100,000 from all Pleasanton properties could pay off in a big way for the district.
Currently, the PUSD tax rate is the third lowest among school districts in the county.
Trustee Joan Laursen told the board room audience and television viewers that the public should not misunderstand where the money goes. It cannot be used to pay for program costs, such as salaries for teachers or administrators. Those costs are covered by state funding that goes to each school district.