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PUSD receives high marks in Measure I1 audit

Auditors confirm district spending in line with voter-approved projects

The Pleasanton Unified School District received a clean bill of health for managing Measure I1 bond spending so far on various upgrades at its 15 campuses, a recent audit reports.

Nothing unusual was revealed from the independent review, which included both performance and financial audits from the 2017-18 fiscal year and was highlighted in a presentation to the Board of Trustees on Jan. 15 by an independent certified public accountant that compiled the annual state-mandated report for the district.

The findings came from San Diego-based firm Cossolias, Wilson, Dominguez and Leavitt, and confirm that bond revenues were spent to date "only for the specific projects developed by the district's governing board and approved by the voters."

"We are pleased that the Measure I1 audit report confirms that Measure I1 funds are being used as approved by the voters on projects that benefit our schools and communities," Steve Zevanove, chair of PUSD's Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, said in a statement last week.

The committee, which formed after voters approved Measure I1 in 2016, helps oversee the $270 million of approved bonds and ensure district accountability on project spending. Measure I1 revenue can only be spent on new equipment, repairs and upgrades in local classrooms and school facilities, and none may be used for administrators' salaries. Members have met seven times since its formation, despite only being required to meet once a year.

Micaela Ochoa, deputy superintendent of business services, thanked the committee "whose work and dedication has supported Measure I1 accountability efforts that are reflected in our first year audit." Five of the committee's six members were unanimously re-appointed to another two-year term at the Feb. 12 trustees meeting.

The district issued the first round of bond sales in October 2017, bringing in nearly $70.6 million in proceeds. The Measure I1 fund ended the 2017-18 with $54.2 million in restricted money available for spending.

PUSD has been making some headway through a myriad of projects using money from Measure I1.

Some of the work completed or in the pipeline includes a slew of modernization efforts like upgrading fire alarms and security systems, replacing electrical infrastructure, installing water-efficient toilets and drinking fountains, and spending $553,733 for new HVAC installation in eight buildings at Pleasanton Middle School.

New portable classrooms and science lab upgrades at both Amador Valley and Foothill high schools also recently drew $677,00 and $783,000 from the Measure I1 coffers, respectively, while $3.7 million was used for devices for 800 teachers plus students at all schools, and another $9.5 million was earmarked for new network cabling and power management.

One of the district's largest projects, a planned rebuild of Lydiksen Elementary School, is set to be funded from the first bond issuance, at an estimated $30 million for brand new buildings and modern classroom furniture designed for collaborative learning.

Last month, trustees also mulled using $35 million to pay more than half the construction costs for a new fourth- and fifth-grade campus on the Donlon Elementary School property.

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