At the election held on June 8, 2010 the Anderson Valley Unified School District (“District”)obtained authorization from the District’s voters to issue the District’s general obligation bonds up to the aggregate principal amount of $15,250,000. The election was conducted under the California Constitution, being chaptered as the Strict Accountability in Local School Construction Bonds Act of 2000, at Section 15264 et seq. of the Education Code of the State of California.
The District’s voters authorized use of bond proceeds for the following purposes: major health and safety repairs to Anderson Valley schools; replacements and upgrades of roofing, heating, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; improving access to computers and modern technology; renewable energy improvements to reduce energy costs and put more money into the classroom; construction of new classrooms; improvements to grounds, parking lots, and access; furnishing and equipping schools to the extent permitted by law; addressing unforeseen conditions revealed by construction/modernization (e.g., plumbing or gas line breaks, dry rot, seismic, structural, etc); necessary site preparation/restoration in connection with new construction, renovation or remodeling; and funding for design, engineering and program management costs, lease payments for leases, purchase of authorized leased facilities; the cost of issuing the bonds, election costs, and the costs of obtaining and disseminating information as authorized under State law.
Pursuant to Section 15278 of the Education Code, the District established an independent citizens’ oversight committee (the “Committee”) to satisfy the accountability requirements of the California Constitution as codified in the California Education Code and appointed the first eight individual members to the Committee.
By law the Committee must confine confine its work specifically to the bond proceeds authorized by the 2010 election and must comply with all applicable provisions of the Education Code in the course of the Committee’s work. Any District money which comes from sources other than the bond proceeds falls outside the scope of the Committee’s authority and is not subject to Committee review. The Committee’s responsibilities are enumerated in Sections 1278-15282 of the Education Code The purpose of the Committee is to review and to inform the public concerning the expenditure of the bond proceeds, in fulfillment of which purpose the Committee is to:
(A) actively review and report on the proper expenditure of taxpayers’ money for school construction, which money consists of proceeds from the sale of the Bonds;
(B) advise the public as to whether the District is in compliance with the requirements of paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 1 of Article XIIIA of the California Constitution, the full text of which Section 1 is cited here for ease of reference and provides as follows:
(a) The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not exceed One percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property. The one percent (1%) tax to be collected by the counties and apportioned according to law to the districts within the counties.
(b) The limitation provided for in subdivision (a) shall not apply to ad valorem taxes or special assessments to pay the interest and redemption charges on any of the following:
(1) Indebtedness approved by the voters prior to July 1, 1978.
(2) Bonded indebtedness for the acquisition or improvement of real property approved on or after July 1, 1978, by two-thirds of the votes cast by the voters voting on the proposition.
(3) Bonded indebtedness incurred by a school district, community college district, or county office of education for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities, approved by 55 percent of the voters of the district or county, as appropriate, voting on the proposition on or after the effective date of the measure adding this paragraph. This paragraph shall apply only if the proposition approved by the voters and resulting in the bonded indebtedness includes all of the following accountability requirements:
(A) A requirement that the proceeds from the sale of the bonds be used only for the purposes specified in Article XIII A, Section 1(b) (3), and not for any other purpose, including teacher and administrator salaries and other school operating expenses.
(B) A list of the specific school facilities projects to be funded and certification that the school district board, community college board, or county office of education has evaluated safety, class size reduction, and information technology needs in developing that list.
(C) A requirement that the school district board, community college board, or county office of education conduct an annual, independent performance audit to ensure that the Bond Proceeds have been expended only on the specific projects listed.
(D) A requirement that the school district board, community college board, or county office of education conduct an annual, independent financial audit of the proceeds from the sale of the bonds until all of those proceeds have been expended for the school facilities projects.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law or of the Constitution, school districts, community college districts, and county offices of education may levy a 55 percent vote ad valorem tax pursuant to subdivision (b).
and (C) convene to provide oversight for, but not limited to, both of the following: (i) ensuring that bond proceeds are expended only for the purposes described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 1 of Article XIIIA of the California Constitution and (ii) ensuring that no bond proceeds are used for any teacher or administrative salaries or other school operating expenses.
In furtherance of its purpose the Committee may engage in any of the following activities:
(A) Receiving and reviewing copies of the annual, independent performance audit required by subparagraph (C) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 1 of Article XIII A of the California Constitution.
(B) Receiving and reviewing copies of the annual, independent financial audit required by subparagraph (D) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 1 of Article XIII A of the California Constitution.
(C) Inspecting school facilities and grounds to ensure that bond revenues are expended in compliance with the requirements of paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 1 of Article XIII A of the California Constitution.
(D) Receiving and reviewing copies of any deferred maintenance proposals or plans developed by the District which proposals or plans relate to Bond expenditures.
(5) Reviewing efforts by the school district or community college district to maximize bond revenues by implementing cost-saving measures, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(A) Mechanisms designed to reduce the costs of professional fees.
(B) Mechanisms designed to reduce the costs of site preparation.
(C) Recommendations regarding the joint use of core facilities.
(D) Mechanisms designed to reduce costs by incorporating efficiencies in school site design.
(E) Recommendations regarding the use of cost-effective and efficient reusable facility plans.
(6) Adopting a plan for publicizing the activities of the Committee and determining what method of information dissemination (e.g., mailer, newspaper notice, a website and/or other means) will best satisfy the obligations of the Committee to inform the public concerning the expenditure of the Bond Proceeds.
The Committee must conduct its meetings in accordance with the provisions of the Ralph M. Brown Public Meetings Act of the State of California. The meetings of the Committee are open to the public.