School board to consider multi-million-dollar bond measure tonight

Proposed bond ranges from $312 million to $234 million

The Pleasanton school board will hold a special meeting tonight to consider placing a multi-million-dollar bond measure on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot that would provide funds for projects throughout the district including, if necessary, the construction of a new elementary school.

The amount of the bond issue to be decided tonight ranges from $312 million to $281 million to $234 million.

The best estimate of the tax which would be required to fund this bond issue is $60 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. Voters should note that the estimated tax rate will be based on the assessed value of their property, not on the current market value. No special discount is planned for seniors.

Unlike a parcel tax where approval from 2/3rds of those voting is needed to adopt the measure, a bond issue such as the school district may place on the ballot requires only a 55% vote of approval.

Tonight's board meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the district's headquarters, 4665 Bernal Ave.

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9 people like this
Posted by resident taxpayer
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2016 at 11:27 am

NO NO NO! Never will I vote to give these irresponsible idiots even more money to waste. Stop the unreasonable salaries, cut out the excess number of employees sitting around doing nothing, no more raises, spend ONLY what you have and stop trying to rape the taxpayers for things that you can fund with the money that you already have!

10 people like this
Posted by local
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jul 7, 2016 at 11:48 am

I think the amazing thing is the district is proposing a $330,000,000 (300 million dollar) bond and there is not even a new school, even thought the last demographer report said we needed two more schools. That means the district will be coming back to us with another bond after this for new school(s). At the same time they want to replace the portables with permanent structures for $41,000,000. It will cost less than $41,000,000 to build a new school, which also deals with the overcrowding. We cannot just keep on cramming new structures into the existing schools. Pleasanton is supposed to have neighborhood schools.

It is a sad day if our school board approves this expensive bond to go on the ballot with no vision. Please contact the school board before tonight's meeting and let them know they can do much better. Don't accept the current proposal on the agenda and work together to give us a real plan that this community deserves.

4 people like this
Posted by Julie Testa
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jul 7, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Julie Testa is a registered user.

This is a CAPITAL bond, money for building needed schools is not a big ask!!

Pleasanton does not have a crisis of crumbling facilities, we have a crisis of old debt, pension obligation and overcrowded schools. Our community deserves something to show for hundreds of millions of dollars of additional taxes. The current bond proposal is unacceptable, I am hopeful tonight's discussion will craft a proposal that the community can be supportive of.

Please email Trustees:,,,
Chris Grant <>,

3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 7, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I will apologize for the length of this post first. This is the email I sent to the Board and staff today. Unfortunately, formatting and emphasis are lost here. To be fair to those I emailed, they just received the email, may not have time to respond to the email, and may not have sufficient time before their vote to respond at the meeting. I hope if this raises questions for any of our voters that you, too, will write to the board.

I wanted to raise some questions about some of the language, or lack thereof, in the current proposed bond resolution:

1. In the resolution, the summary language for the ballot does not include the transfer of $17.8 million in old debt:
“(To repair and upgrade aging classrooms and facilities at local schools; provide 21st century learning technology and facilities; improve school safety and security; update science labs; maximize energy and water efficiency; and renovate, construct, and acquire classrooms, equipment and facilities, shall Pleasanton Unified School District issue $______ in bonds, at legal rates, with independent citizen oversight, annual audits, all funds used for local schools, and no money used for administrators’ salaries?)”

2. The resolution states: ”in the event the full text of the bond proposition is not reprinted in the voter information pamphlet”—a likely event because there already are so many bonds and measures on the November ballot—a person must call the County Registrar, District, or access it online at the district. Many voters will not follow through and it is possible they will vote no because they cannot easily attain the full measure.

3. Section 3e of the resolution has standard language stating the district “assumes the receipt of matching state funds.” Does anything being proposed qualify to even ask for matching funds?

4. In Exhibit A on page A-1, Limitations on Use of Bonds: it states “or the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities, including, to the extent permitted by law, the acquisition or lease of real property in connection with an existing or future financing of the specific school facilities projects listed in the Bond Project List, including the prepayment of existing or future interim lease, certificate of participation or lease revenue bond financings . . .” Is this so additional portables can be acquired? Is this to move leased portables to owned portables: Also, the refinancing of the COPs is buried in the Exhibit, but does this also say the district can incur additional COPs debt and repay it with this bond?

5. A-2, "Special Bond Proceeds Account; Annual Report to Board: . . . shall cause a report to be filed with the Board no later than January 1 of each year . . . stating (a) the amount of bond proceeds received and expended in that year, and (b) the status of any project funded or to be funded from bond proceeds. The report may relate to the calendar year, fiscal year, or other appropriate annual period as the Superintendent of the district shall determine, and may be incorporated into the annual budget, audit, or other appropriate routine report to the Board.” This diminishes the work of the annual audits and the independent citizens’ oversight committee and potentially buries the information in a much bulkier and less readable report. This does not support taking an ethical approach, moral high ground, or complete transparency with this community.

6. A-3, “Joint-Use Projects”: “ . . . and this proposition hereby specifies and acknowledges that bond funds will or may be used to fund all or a portion of the local share for any eligible joint-use projects identified in the Bond Project List or as otherwise permitted by California State regulations, as the Board shall determine.” What projects on the Bond Project List would be considered eligible for joint use?

7. A-3, Other Terms of the Bonds: the language does not limit the bond money from being repaid over 30 years for items like technology and the COPs.

8. A-3 through A-6, B ond Project List:
There is no priority set for the projects
The projects are not specific to particular school sites.
“The Board cannot guarantee that the bonds will provide sufficient funds to allow completion of all listed projects”—it is vital to know what projects are a priority over others listed.

9. Exhibit B uses terms like 6.00 cents per hundred dollars. It should state $60/$100,000 or $390 per year for a home with an assessed value of $650,000. The actual cost dollars/year is much clearer to the voters.

10. B-1, #4—the best estimate of the total debt service is BLANK. How can you vote without knowing that number?

3 people like this
Posted by local
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jul 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm

I want to point out to others the wording in the bond, "Attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information is based upon the District’s projections and estimates only, which are not binding upon the District." That means it can cost you more than $60 per $100,000 of value and there is nothing you can do about it as that number is not binding.

Also, the cost projects assume that property values in Pleasanton go up 4% per year for 28 out of the 30 years. If you think that is high then expect to pay more than the district is telling you. If property values do not go up 4% per year, each property owner will be required to pay a higher amount per $100,000 in value.

I have to agree with Kathleen on the previous message. Why is the total cost of the bond not in the packet (the debt service plus the bond)? The district has to know since they did all the calculations on the annual costs for each property. The total amount of this bond plus the interest is over $700,000,000! The title of this article "School board to consider multi-million-dollar bond measure tonight" is WAY off. This is not multi-million, this is close to a billion dollars.

2 people like this
Posted by Big thinker
a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 8, 2016 at 10:21 am

I have a different read on this. Residents who have been here for a long period of time will benefit the most because residents who have moved here in the last few years will really shoulder the burden of the tax. Someone who bought a 2 million dollar home will pay an additional $1200 per year in property taxes not to mention the Bart bond. Finally they will pay their fair share of the tax burden.

8 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 8, 2016 at 11:11 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

There is no doubt the most recent home purchasers will have higher assessed valuation, but it is not the same as market value. And the board voted last night to drop the request to $49/$100,000. They also voted to build an elementary school--a complicated process that will remove portables, thus relieving some of the most crowded schools. It will be an uphill climb to choose the best place, get the land, design the school, and being changing boundaries to move students to a new site. In other words, it won't be built for a while.

They also responded to most of my questions above. The ballot language will include the school and the movement of debt. It is likely the County will print all of the resolution; not cheap, but important for voters. If the bond passes, a blue book of projects per site will be created before projects begin and an citizen's oversight committee will be created. The 6.00 cents per $100 is a holdover in law. The best estimate will be filled in.

The board approved their draft project list last night. They will approve the actual bond resolution and language on July 30 (I believe).

I want to acknowledge publicly that the board members listened to several of us in attendance, held a lengthy discussion, and found a way to compromise. It was not easy. They have my thanks for working through to a viable solution, and one I will personally support. I don't think anyone got everything they wanted, but it is a good solution for setting the district on a path for the future, and addresses the needs of our students. Well done!

And welcome to Mr. Rubino, our new superintendent. It was a roller coaster ride for his first board meeting.

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 8, 2016 at 1:12 pm


You are kind of glossing over a few points here in order to get to your bond issue. Assessed value and market value are almost the same for new purchasers and assessed values rarely go down and almost always go up. Secondly going from $60 per $100,000 to $49 per $100,000 was not based on a business needs assessment but rather $49 sounds better than $59 so maybe can pass the bond and see what to spend it on. There must be more detail and substance this CAPITAL before I would consider it.

4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 8, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I don't want to gloss over anything. The board carefully reviewed their draft list and it took quite a while to get all 5 to agree. I wanted a bond at $30 and an elementary school/removal of portables. I don't agree with everything they chose, but it is a compromise worth supporting and $49 was chosen to accommodate the compromises, not because it sounded better. Recommendation were at $60, $55, $50, and $45. Two preferred $45, but didn't leave sufficient dollars for modernization. $49 made it possible.

There are 62 portables at the elementary level; we need a school.

5 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 9, 2016 at 8:13 am

Flightops is a registered user.

Not another dime from me till I see an itemized list of where the bond money goes and how it has been prioritized, too many sticky fingers reaching into that pot of gold!!!! Not seeing much difference right now between the school board and the Bart board- keep your hands out of my pockets!

Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 9, 2016 at 11:29 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I think it's a fair request. I also think there needs to be more than just three or four talking to the board or staff.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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