Arcadia Unified School District’s Board of Education voted unanimously at its February 28 meeting on a resolution that will save Arcadia taxpayers over $40 million.
The savings will come by way of refinancing bonds that were obtained through the Measure I, Facilities Bond. Approved by voters in November 2006, Measure I, or the Arcadia Neighborhood Schools, Health, Safety and Repair Measure, authorized $218 million of general obligation bonds to be spent solely for the improvement and modernization of Arcadia Unified School District (AUSD) schools and facilities. Fiscal management of the bonds has been overseen by AUSD Business Services, headed by Assistant Superintendent Christina Aragon.
“We constantly keep an eye out for opportunities to be sound stewards of Arcadia taxpayer money,” said Assistant Superintendent Aragon. In light of the bonds call date occurring this year, AUSD Business Services partnered with a financial adviser to examine the option of refinancing.
“By refinancing these bonds, we will be able to take advantage of current interest rates that are lower than those originally available in 2007,” Aragon explained. “It will come at no cost to AUSD, and although it will not directly benefit AUSD, it will save Arcadia taxpayers over $40 million in taxes. The savings are exclusively for the taxpayers.”
The savings will be seen over the life of the repayment plan, which will save taxpayers, on average, 10 percent each year from taxes related to these bonds.
Measure I funding was approved for the purpose of making structural improvements to AUSD schools. To date, every project on the district’s original capital improvement list has been completed, with every AUSD school receiving upgrades to classrooms and school facilities. Upgrades have included the following: improved technology and renovations in every classroom in the district; enhanced safety features, including additional security lighting and fencing; upgraded landscaping and sidewalks; new phone and master bell systems; the Arcadia Performing Arts Center; improved utility and power infrastructure; new library and media centers; electronic marquees at every school; enhanced student support facilities and services; and several other needed restorations and repairs district-wide.
“The upgrades we have been able to make to our schools and facilities have created amazing learning spaces for our students and have equipped teachers with state-of-the-art teaching tools. None of this could have been accomplished without Arcadia taxpayers’ support of our schools. It makes me very happy to know we constantly adhere to best practices of fiscal responsibility in our oversight of taxpayer money.” said AUSD School Board Vice President Fenton Eng.