Acalanes School District attempts to muzzle opposition to sale of Measure E bonds

The Acalanes Union High School District has gone to court to muzzle opposition to its proposed sale of $15M of new Measure E bonds that opponents say violates the terms of the $93M Measure E passed in 2008.

In June, the Acalanes Union High School District voted to issue $15 million in construction bonds. The sale of the Measure E bonds will increase property taxes. The district’s board of directors voted 4 to 1 to sell the bonds. The Acalanes District operates high schools in Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, and part of Walnut Creek.

Measures E and H will raise bond debt significantlyMeasure E, (a total of $93 million) was passed in 2008 by While 64 percent of the district’s voters. But, “The district’s 2008 Measure E ballot language states that property owners would not pay a higher rate than they were already paying for bonds issued in 2002 . . . ,” according to the Contra Costa Times July 18 print edition.

Measure E of 2008, according to the Times, “promised that the bonds would be issued ‘without increasing (school bond) tax rates’ of $35.58 per $100,000 in assessed property value.”

Since 2008, property values in the district declined or did not rise as much as expected. To make up for lower levels of revenue, the district decided to issue $15 million in new bonds.

When the district voted in June to sell the extra $15 million in new bonds, the district also stipulated that the new bonds could not be sold unless a judge agreed that the district could reverse its promise made in the 2008 ballot language.

To assure that the bonds are sold, the district is asking a court, according to the Times, “to issue an injunction preventing anyone from challenging the validity, issuance and sale of the bonds in the future.”

On July 18, the Bay Area News Group, which operates the Times, published a legal notice concerning the bond sale. The notice states that ” . . . anyone may contest the legality or validity of the matter (bond sale) . . . ” The notice came from the Contra Costa Superior Court.

The judge in the case, according to the Times, “will have to weigh the district’s arguments against those of residents who may argue that that they voted for Measure E based on the promise in the ballot language.”

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Comments

  1. Richard Eber says

    Another factor to consider with the Acalanes School District and many others is their propensity to issue bonds, spend the money, and not start to pay it back for the next 15 years. During this time period tax rates don’t go up but when the debt has to be paid, the roof caves in with additional liabilities for property owners to fund. When the final tab comes in 40 years hence, a 15 million dollar bond expenditure ends of costing five times that amount

    This same scheme has been duplicated in other school Districts with similar results. In this way the Mt. Diablo School District brags their 73 million in in bonds financing solar panels will be able to break even in 20 years while saving the environment. This “Green friendly” plan looks great on paper but when all costs are tabulated will run approximately 348 million for the next generation of property owners in the district..

    Only a governmental agency can turn a major loss like this into a profit.