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Saugus district seeks approval for bond measure

Los Angeles County Supervisors could authorize school district to move forward on improvements

Posted: June 30, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 30, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Eyeing a potential spot on the November election ballot, officials in the Saugus Union School District are seeking approval from Los Angeles County to take a step toward a possible bond measure.An item on Tuesday’s agenda for the Los Angeles County board of Supervisors is to authorize the district to proceed with the formation of a School Facilities Improvement District “within its boundaries for the authorization and issuance of bonds,” according to the agenda.

“Based on the age of school district facilities and the need to upgrade school facilities and capital projects (among other projects) in the remainder of the school district, the school district plans to call and conduct a general obligation bond election pursuant to the provisions of California law in November 2014,” reads a letter sent to the Board of Supervisors from Bowie, Arneson, Wiles & Giannone, a law firm representing the district as bond counsel.

Saugus board President Paul De La Cerda said Thursday that the board is still working through the details of a possible bond measure.“We are anxiously waiting to be able to make that decision,” he said.

One of the reasons the district is looking at a bond measure is because, unlike some other sources of education funding, the state would not be able to take the funding away.

Additional funding from a bond would enable the district to upgrade or repair school campuses and help toward integrating technology in classrooms, officials say.

The last time the Saugus district had a bond measure passed was in 2002, when voters OK’d the $48 million Measure E, which went toward school construction and renovation.

While the exact size of a possible Saugus bond has not yet been determined, the board could consider a bond for as much as $150 million, according to the district’s website.

Four other Santa Clarita Valley school districts have had bond measured approved in the last few years.

The Castaic Union School District won voter approval for Measure QS, a $51 million bond measure, in November 2012.

The Sulphur Springs School District had its bond, the $72 million Measure CK, approved by voters earlier that same year.

The year before that, in 2011, the Newhall School District received approval for Measure E, a $60 million bond measure.

Prior to that, theWilliam S. Hart Union High School District won approval for its $300 million Measure SA bond in 2008.
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bobforte: Posted: June 30, 2014 9:46 a.m.

These bond measures always pass because no one pays attention to where the money actually goes. All you have to do is day "it's for the children" and it automatically passes.

LAUSD got caught though trying to buy iPads for everyone. What a nightmare that was.

timothymyers02: Posted: June 30, 2014 11:44 a.m.

Something doesn't seem right here. The SUSD has actually closed locations and is operating much below it's peak enrollment in the early 2000's after adding several locations. For example, West Creek is actually an "Academy" because there aren't enough students in its neighborhood to fill the school. Could the SUSD actually be borrowing money to fund the operating costs of underutilized locations?

src: Posted: June 30, 2014 11:45 a.m.

Perhaps they could learn to spend their money more efficiently. It's not like they have a fleet of district buses to pay for or sports teams for the Jr Highs. Maybe do away with some administrative positions and vice principals (have the principals do some work, my kid's is usesless). For the amount of money we pump into the schools, we get a pretty poor return.

missyJk: Posted: June 30, 2014 1:19 p.m.

I am voting NO let the parents dig in their pockets i am tired of all these bonds adding more to property taxes if we already ok'd one in 2002 that means they are getting money...I am sick of the bond issues

bobforte: Posted: June 30, 2014 1:19 p.m.

All great comments. It amazes me when I walk into my kids school (Westcreek) and see the amount of employees doing nothing. Westcreek is filling up however, and becoming more of a community school rather than a commuter school.

A few years ago, when Emblem was closed, a homeowner gave an excellent presentation of how Santa Clarita School (I believe the oldest in the system) is the most expensive to operate. This school should be closed and the kids sent to Emblem "Academy" instead or to Fosters or the other local schools.

missyJk: Posted: June 30, 2014 1:22 p.m.

no more taxes NO MORE TAXES

chefgirl358: Posted: June 30, 2014 2:02 p.m.

"Saugus district seeks approval for bond measure"...well they can keep seeking because I'm sure as hell not going to vote for more taxes for their overinflated bureaucratic spending bs.

Lotus8: Posted: June 30, 2014 2:15 p.m.

Good schools = good property values. Our schools in this valley are underfunded because the state uses old formulas to limit funding and routes the money instead to inner city areas. If we are to maintain our reputation as a valley where everyone can send their kids to public school and expect great results, we need to chip in and keep the schools up to par. No iPads or silly stuff like that, but there is a need to plug the funding hole. Even if you don't have kids going to these schools, the person who buys your house eventually most likely will, so the investment in taxes will come back your way.

I hate taxes and public employee unions as much as the next person. However, we live in a democrat controlled state and the unions aren't going away any time soon. This type of bond measure is a way for us to maintain the quality of the community schools that are the backbone of property values, educate our children to become solid members of the community in the future, and attract quality people to the valley.

I get the knee jerk anti-tax reaction. I really do. I just want to present an opinion from someone who thinks along the same lines but has decided that, of all the taxes we pay, this one actually will benefit us more than most.

cj64: Posted: June 30, 2014 2:21 p.m.

They need more money to fight the charter schools. The charter schools are doing a better job with less money.

bobforte: Posted: June 30, 2014 4:30 p.m.

Maybe instead of new bonds, Saugus and the other districts need to work on legislation that changes the way schools are funded. If we are do more money, then let's work to get that money. I sure as heck don't care about the inner-city schools and there free bussing and free meals, etc.

philellis: Posted: June 30, 2014 4:35 p.m.

@bob - The bond will require a citizen's oversight committee. You should consider applying.

Tim, I am surprised at your post. I would have thought that with your background you were well aware that bond money cannot be used for operating costs. Also, just because West Creek is called "academy" does not mean it is not a school.

src, you are apparently confusing schools located in Saugus that are part of the Hart School Disrict and not the Saugus school district which only covers K-6. They have no junior high schools and do not bus any junior high school sport teams. --edited.

timothymyers02: Posted: July 1, 2014 11:37 a.m.


I realize the operating cost provision but am still concerned about such a large bond when there are no obvious uses for cap ex over the next 10-15 years. It almost feels like the attorneys and underwriters who get big fees from these bond undertakings are pushing it and very little will actually be drawn for a while.

philellis: Posted: July 1, 2014 5:43 p.m.

Tim, you can go to the Newhall School District website to see how a bond works. Saugus, Castaic and Hart, each, have bonds that are actively (and wisely) being spend on needed and approrpiate expenditures. Why wonder when you can get facts (something that I would imagine a CPA/attorney would be interested in). There are other reports avialable on the NSD site, but the following may be helpful -

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