Measure “B” Placerville schools funds increase Distance Learning during COVID crisis

by Placerville Newswire / May 07, 2020 / comments

[Superintendent Eric Bonniksen]

Placerville, CA – As we deal with COVID and new distance learning requirements in Placerville schools, PUSD would like to provide the community with an update on the progress of Measure “B” and share how proud we are of how it has considerably improved the education we can provide, despite campuses being closed! Thank you again for your investment in our students!

Measure “B” is a $3.2 million general obligation bond that was approved by 55.8% of local voters in November of 2015. As was promised, Measure “B” is:

- Keeping computers, technology and software up-to-date and strengthening the network that connects us to each other and the Internet 

- Increasing the opportunities students have to use computers and technology

- Providing instructional technology to all elementary and middle school students 

Following the 2015 election and the plan as it was presented to the community, the District issued $1.6 million in the spring of 2016 for infrastructure improvements and the first ‘round’ of new devices. More recently, per the original plan for Measure “B”, the District issued another $550,000 of the bonds last month. This issuance of Measure “B” bonds utilized a short term of just four (4) years to match the useful life of the computers which will be purchased with those funds. Similarly, over the next eight (8) years, Measure “B” is scheduled to provide two additional rounds of computer replacements, again utilizing shorter term ‘note’ issuances. Use of short term notes considerably minimizes the cost of interest on the bonds, which is currently 23 cents per each dollar borrowed thus far and is projected to decrease to an overall 18 cents for every dollar borrowed after the sale of all planned notes over nearly the next decade. 

Specific to the second issuance process itself, a combination of fortuitous timing of the sale before markets became particularly volatile, a strong credit rating, and the hard work of the Administration and the entire team allowed us to get a ‘better deal’ than estimates provided to voters. Specifically, the tax rate in support of the Measure “B” bonds is expected to remain below the $13.50 per $100,000 of assessed value estimate provided to voters. And most notably, the interest expense – as shared above – will again be exceedingly low.

“We are very excited to get yet another incredible deal for technology for our students,” said Board President, Katharine Stabler. “Of course, the rest of the Board and I offer our sincere thanks to the entire community and are deeply committed to continuing to serve as good stewards of our taxpayers’ investment.” 

To the particular benefit of all our students, the second series also ‘priced’ immediately prior to the ‘shelter-in-place’ order from the Governor in response to the COVID pandemic, making more than $500,000 available to help PUSD meet all prior and new technology and distance learning equipment needs. Indeed, the community’s investment and the District’s successful application of educational technology over the last number of years allowed PUSD to ‘hit the ground running’ and implement distance learning nearly from the first day of recent school closures. 

“In this challenging time when so many students throughout the State are struggling, I am especially proud of us here at PUSD,” said Superintendent Eric Bonniksen. “With the robust educational technology program we’ve developed and implemented, we were prepared to begin distance learning on day one – and credit is due to our staff for making it happen and our community for believing in our vision.” 

Measure “B” also included many accountability requirements to address concerns that have been raised about other school bonds in the region and throughout the State. Following this second sale of Measure “B” bonds, all these promises continue to be met and substantially improved upon. 

More information about Measure “B” can be found on the District’s website: www.pusdk8.us. For any additional questions – or to find out even more about Measure “B”, technology and distance learning at Placerville schools.