Monday, April 23 , 2018, 7:42 pm | Fair 55º


School District to Issue $40 Million in Measure Q, R Bonds

After earning strong ratings, the district is positioned for a favorable interest rate

More than one-third of the voter-approved Measure Q and Measure R bonds will be issued this year after the Santa Barbara School District earned strong bond ratings and continues to pay off debt.

The district received the ratings from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, authorizing it to issue $40 million of the $100 million Measure Q and R bonds.

The bond measures were passed by voters in November and will be used for capital improvement and infrastructure projects in both the elementary and secondary districts. With good ratings, the district is likely to get a favorable interest rate and keep tax rates substantially similar to what they are now, according to Deputy Superintendent Eric Smith.

He said that since the district is still paying off debt from Measure V, the rest of the bond measure funds passed by voters in November most likely will be available in three years.

The district also will borrow $25 million this year, to be repaid by June 30, 2012, to deal with cash flow issues because it is so dependent on property taxes.

For the 2011-12 operating budget, the district is negotiating with employee unions for a five- or 10-day furlough, which could help avoid massive layoffs, according to Superintendent Brian Sarvis. He said that in a “doomsday scenario” where tax extensions aren’t passed — or even considered — the district could be looking at an additional $11 million in cuts on top of the estimated $10 million.

If unification goes through, which will be determined in late May, it could bring $6 million in savings. With unification, all employees receive a guaranteed two-year period without being fired or laid off, staff members have said.

Next week, the school board will consider more restrictive revisions to the Independent Study Physical Education rules so that only student athletes who have competed on a national or international level can participate in the program. The item, scheduled for Tuesday, was incorrectly worded, so the board postponed the vote.

The district has alternative programs for students opting out of general P.E. classes but in the past, ISPE has been “kind of considered a program that separates kids out” in terms of demographics, Associate Superintendent Robin Sawaske said. All but three of the students in ISPE are white and the others are Asian, she said, adding that some students benefit from being in a comprehensive P.E. program with instruction on healthy behaviors and mixing with peers from different backgrounds, which isn’t always possible in other classes.

The changes would apply to both junior high and high school students.

Several parents spoke out Tuesday against the changes, noting that many people can’t afford to send their children to national competitions, and eliminating a P.E. class could open up electives to help prepare for academies in the secondary level or pursue other elective options.

Parents with children involved with local hockey teams praised the sport for helping their children do well in all aspects of life, but lamented that skill level would be the determining factor for letting them opt out of a general P.E. class.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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