The Santa Barbara school board decided Tuesday night to sell more general obligation bonds from the millions of dollars approved by voters in 2010 to continue funding capital improvement projects on district campuses.
Dozens of Measure Q bond measure-funded projects are finished or in progress with the $25 million of $75 million bond funds already sold for the secondary district, and the school board approved authorizing another $15 million be sold in late May or early June.
The board also approved borrowing up to $25 million in Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes, or TRANs, which has become an annual occurrence to get through leaner parts of the year between property tax payouts in December and April, according to Fiscal Services Director Conrad Tedeschi.
Property taxes now make up 70 percent of the district’s revenues and get paid in those two installments; meanwhile, the state regularly defers 38 percent of the district’s revenue to the following financial year, so there are a lot of months with consistent expenses but low cash flow, Superintendent Dave Cash said.
The money has a low interest rate and is always paid back by the end of the fiscal year, Tedeschi said, adding that the Santa Barbara Unified School District borrowed $22 million this year and isn’t expected to borrow the full $25 million.
Borrowing doesn’t save the district from making any budget cuts, and the school board is expected to cut $5.8 million for the 2012-13 year. So far, negotiations with the Santa Barbara Teachers Association for furlough days has yielded savings but means the school year will be five days shorter — at 175 days. A retirement incentive offered to employees will also save money next year, and some of the pink slips passed out in March were rescinded for both elementary and secondary teachers.
The administration also announced Tuesday night that Cynthia White will take over as principal of Cleveland Elementary School, since current Principal Michael Vail is one of 57 employees taking the retirement incentive offered by the district and will be leaving at the end of the year. White is a former Cleveland Elementary teacher who has been working as director of curriculum and categorical programs for the district office.
For years, it has been her dream to go back to Cleveland, she said.
The school wanted someone who speaks Spanish, supports year-round education and early childhood education, has a strong background in the common core and can integrate technology into the classroom, which suits White perfectly, Cash said.
He added that White has a positive attitude and will be able to inspire staff to take more ownership in the school.