A new committee meets today to review Pleasanton Unified School District bond practices, years after the district's original bond oversight committee apparently disbanded.
That original committee was required by the bond act, although the district could provide no minutes or times when the original committee ever met.
In an announcement on the PUSD website, the district notes it has engaged a consultant to review past transactions regarding Measure B, a 1997 bond measure. Some critics of the district claim that PUSD took advantage of a loophole in the law at the time to borrow additional funds in cash-out refinancing to use on projects that weren't approved by voters as they claim is required by law.
A new committee, which includes some of the Measure B critics, will meet twice before the board receives a report by consultants from Government Financial Strategies (GFS), which was hired by the district to review the its past bond practices.
The new committee will be headed by Beth Limesand. Members are Kay Ayala, Jan Batcheller, Jack Dove, Anne Fox, Kathleen Ruegsegger; and Julie Testa. The committee help GFS by offering input and reviewing preliminary findings.Only one member, Jack Dove, was a member of the original oversight committee.
A 2009 decision by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown compared cash-out refinancing to refinancing a mortgage, taking advantage of lower interest rates to generate additional funds for other purposes. In the decision, Brown cites California Education Code and the state's constitution in saying cash-out refinancing as was done in the district in 2009, which was done in many districts across the state around the same time, should have gone to a vote.
According to that decision, "California's constitution requires voter approval before a district may lawfully incur any new general obligation bond debt."
Critics say that any work done by the district should have been documented in a blue book report and was to have been reviewed by an oversight committee. In response to a request by the Pleasanton Weekly, the district was unable to provide meeting dates or minutes from any oversight committee meetings.
The new committee, which includes only one of the members of the original oversight committee, will meet twice, once at 5 p.m. today and again on June 20 to review the refunding. Those meetings will be held at the district offices, 4665 Bernal Ave., and are open to the public. The school board will receive its report June 26.