The Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees is wrapping up some unfinished business at a special meeting on Tuesday evening, following what was supposed to be their final gathering last week until next month for a summer hiatus.
An item requiring board action unexpectedly emerged last week at a district facilities staff meeting, prompting the hasty organization of Tuesday night’s meeting, which starts 5:30 p.m. inside the PUSD headquarters, 4665 Bernal Ave.
To get the best value for the district’s dollars, staff are asking the trustees to approve using a construction project bidding process that gives them more leverage when selecting a contractor.
Unlike traditional methods requiring public school districts to award contracts to the lowest qualified bidder, a lease-leaseback gives districts the same negotiating tools as private sector entities, including asking for references from other districts.
The district would lease their property to the builder and “would make payments to the contractor to pay for their fees instead of paying for the entire project all upfront,” according to Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the district. Once the facilities are completed, the builder leases the improved site back to the district and the lease is terminated upon the final lease payment.
Lease-leasebacks can help school districts attract more qualified bids, Gannon said, since requests for proposals on public projects typically require contractors to do more preparation competing for a contract that they’re not guaranteed to win.
“It allows us to go out for bidders, requires less work for contractors upfront and attracts more qualified contractors,” Gannon said. “We have, in the case of Lydiksen (Elementary School), struggled to get bids on projects, and the bids that we do get are very high.”
State-matched funds are also more accessible by entering lease-leaseback agreements because Gannon said that normally districts “have to put a ton of funds upfront because they’re using the traditional bid process and those state-matching dollars are not necessarily guaranteed and you don’t get those matching funds right away.”
“It’s years down the road, so by making payments, it allows us to go out for those state-matching funds without the burden of having to put all money upfront,” Gannon said, adding that “in terms of Measure I1 dollars, it doesn’t prolong the life of the bond -- these projects (like Lydiksen) happen to be tied to our first general obligation bond in 20 years.”
Gannon said that if approved Tuesday, “this will allow us to utilize this process without waiting until August to discuss.”
In other business, the board will also vote on the consent agenda's sole item, a proposed job description for the position of district career readiness specialist.