What is a general obligation bond?
General obligation bonds fund projects, such as the renovation of existing classrooms and school facilities, as well as the construction of new schools and classrooms. When voters approve a bond referendum, the Board of Trustees is authorized to sell bonds to pay for much-needed renovation/replacement, additions, and technology upgrade needs. The bonds are sold over a multiple-year period and represent a long-term general obligation, similar to a home loan. Typically, general obligation bonds are repaid over a 30 year period but can be repaid over a shorter period. Bypassing the referendum, voters agree to ad valorem (property based) taxes to fund the annual principal and interest payment on bonds. The loan repayment comes from a tax on all taxable property located within the District — residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial.
What level of support is required to pass bond measures?
For a Proposition 39 type general obligation bond, at least 55% of those voters who cast a ballot on the measure must vote “Yes” in order for a bond measure to be approved.
Proposition 39 was passed on the November 7, 2000, California general election. It lowered the required supermajority necessary in order for voters to approve local school bond measures, from 2/3 of all votes cast to 55%. If a school district places a non-Proposition 39 bond on the ballot, it still requires 2/3 of all votes cast in order to pass.
What will the passage of general obligation bonds mean for our students and the community?
General obligation bonds provide funds to build new classrooms to relieve overcrowding, and to make repairs and upgrades to existing classrooms and school facilities; many of which are also used and available to the community such as the libraries, gymnasiums, auditoriums, swimming pools, and athletic fields.
I don’t attend CCSF or have children who attend CCSF; how would bond measures benefit me?
Improvements to schools can have a positive impact on the entire community, not only the students. Aside from positive impacts on quality of education, improvements to schools can positively impact the local economy, local property values, traffic flow and safety. The District is committed to hiring from local businesses and companies, benefitting the current workforce. A better quality of education will lead to a better-skilled workforce in the future.
How will the bond measures support student achievement?
The physical environment makes a difference in education. Research links student achievement with the quality of the built environment (new and modernized buildings and grounds, lighting, indoor air quality, thermal comfort, acoustic quality). Safe, secure, well designed and maintained facilities have a positive effect on student performance, attendance, and reduced disciplinary problems.
Improvements funded by bond measures ensure students can continue to learn in safe and modern classrooms by:
- Replacing or repairing leaky roofs
- Upgrading fire and earthquake safety
- Repairing and upgrading classrooms and science labs
- Improving indoor air quality and comfort
- Improving acoustics
- Preventing overcrowding by providing additional classrooms and facilities
- Updating learning technology and infrastructure
How can I be sure that bond funds will be spent on improving our schools?
Fiscal accountability provisions were established to protect taxpayers. As required by law, an independent citizens' oversight committee ensures that bond funds are properly spent. Also by law, the District conducts annual audits. No bond money is used for teacher or administrative salaries. All funds go directly to our local high schools and cannot be taken away by the State.
Who provides oversight of Bond Measures?
As required by Education Code Section 15278, the District appoints a committee of local residents, whose main charge is to inform the public about how the bond dollars are being spent. The committee, known as the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, actively reviews and reports on the expenditure of taxpayer’s money for school construction to ensure that bond funds are spent in accordance with the provisions of the bond. The committee is comprised of volunteers who represent specific constituencies, such as senior citizens, parents, businesses, or the community-at-large.
Each year a fiscal and performance audit of bond expenditures is conducted. The audits have concluded that East Side complied in all material respects with bond measure requirements to expend proceeds only on the school facilities projects specified in the bond measure legislation. The auditor issued an unqualified opinion that no deficiencies or unallowable expenses were discovered that should not be charged to the Bond Program.
The Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee reviews and reports on the annual audits, in addition to their other monitoring and reporting activities. To learn more and review reports from the Committee, please visit the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee page.
Will all funds benefit San Francisco Community College District facilities and students?
All funds generated by the San Francisco Community College District bond measures benefit only its facilities and students. None of the funds can be taken away by the State or go to other schools or college districts.
How much does a bond issue cost me as a homeowner? If I rent, do I pay this tax?
When you pay rent to the property owner, you are indirectly paying for the bond issue cost. The rent you pay to the owner helps to cover the owner's costs, including the owner's payment of this tax as part of the property tax bill.