BESD refinances 1994 bond, votes on improvements


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BRAWLEY – The Brawley Elementary School District board adopted a resolution providing for the issuance and sale of a 2014 bond for $1,525,000 to refinance the district’s General Obligation bond from the 1994 election.


By refinancing the 1994 bond at today’s lower interest payments, the community saved $117,000 savings over 9.5 years according to Jason List, representing Urban Futures, Inc, the firm hired by BESD.


List, whose firm also managed the 2012 bond election and bond sales, spoke concerning a future bond measure to build a new elementary school.


According to List, a community has a cap placed on it by the financial market on how much a bond indebted burden it can assume.  Counting the past two school bonds the community is paying, the school can ask for another bond up to $5.9 million, which List said the cap could be waived if the school could show a good cause.


Ron Garcia, superintendent, estimated a new school would cost between $14 – 16 million. The state doesn’t quite match that 50-50 because of added local expenditures, he said.


Garcia asked the board to consider the exploration and feasibility of a bond measure for the district.  According to Garcia, the schools all face overcrowding and the last school built in the district was 50 years ago.


Trustee Gloria Santillan worried about another bond promised for a new school, remembering the 1994 bond was for that purpose and a new school never developed.


Cesar Guzman, board member, said the public might not support a new bond considering one was just passed last year, plus the school attendance has not risen significantly in the past years.


Trustee Armando Padilla thought with the closing of the National Beef Plant, many families are worried about keeping their jobs, much less taking on more of a financial burden in taxes.


Another avenue, Certificates of Participation, was discussed, which overrides voters, but the money then comes directly out of the General Fund.


In other business the school accepted approximately $140,000 from the Imperial Irrigation District for high efficiency air conditioners to be split equally among  the five schools in the district.


The board approved a quote of $253,304.74 from USA Shade & Fabric Structures for J.W.Oakley School shade structures.


The board, after discussion, tabled approving a contract for a Myron D. Witter School dining room building, which was contingent upon available funding.  The contract was not to exceed $350,000, which included architectural fees, construction of a building pad and manufacturing of a modular building.


The board voted to assign 1994 bond money for technology connectivity at Hidalgo and Witter Schools, Phil D. Swing and Oakley shade projects, Hidalgo office renovations and Myron Witter dining room project.  The costs were estimated at $800,000.


Garcia told the board that they are legally obligated to spend the bond money from 1994.


The district board approved a $140,317 purchase of a Special Education School Bus.