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How much will this school bond really cost?

Posted: September 19, 2008 9:27 p.m.
Updated: November 21, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 

Regarding the front-page story entitled “School bond hits a roadblock,” I have a few questions.

Superintendent Jaime Castellanos was quoted saying, “We have a project list, which the board has approved, and our staff has done a tentative adjustment of what each project will cost.

“However, these are just projections using today’s dollars, and estimates could go up if (construction) costs escalate.”
Why are we being asked to approve a $300 million bond using today’s dollars for projects that will certainly span several years (like building a high school from scratch)?

And what does he mean by “if costs escalate”? They have consistently gone up each year since the approval of the previous bond (Measure V).

The article closes with a quote from Superintendent Castellanos saying, “If we don’t get it this year, then we’ll just have to ask again next year. The longer we delay, the more costly the projects will be.”

From this statement, it would seem that he is aware that costs do rise from year to year. So why is the bond estimated at today’s dollars?

A fiscally responsible board would: 1) Factor in projected cost increases in a projected budget; 2) Use the lessons learned from the Measure V project cost overruns to make a more realistic projected budget and better estimate timelines for completion.

In business, whenever a major project closes, there is a closing review to see what was done right, what should have been done differently, and lessons learned so that the next project is an even greater success.

We, as a community, need to see some closure to the Measure V projects and funds. We need to see how much was actually accomplished using the funds vs. what was projected to be accomplished.

Were the objectives met as stated in the bond? If not, how far off are we? $300 million?

This is not asking too much in exchange for another $300 million. So I implore the Hart school board to make this information available.

Until we get this information, I ask the Santa Clarita Valley community to consider this: Would you really loan $300 million to someone who hadn’t yet accounted for the last $150 million that you loaned them?

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