Novato Unified Schools: Vote Yes on Measure G Bonds - Marin County - 2016 general Election
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  Commentary    Question    Analysis    Argument in Favor    Rebuttal in Favor    Argument Against    Rebuttal Against    Full Text    Tax Rate  

Commentary on Measure G

Are you sure you want vote to support this extravagant measure? It has no accountability.

This campaign was designed by a member of the school bonds cartel. We figured out just the right words to get you to you to open up your checkbook.

We'd also like to introduce you to our partners -- bond lawyers, brokers, wealthy investors, architects, management firms, construction companies, and trade unions. We all stand to make a ton of money on these bonds. Our profits come right off the top, before a penny is actually spent on improving the facilities.

We're not just doing it for the money. We like to show off our work in Architectural Digest and other places where the rich and famous congregate.

Remember, we've taken a lot of risk. We gave money to get your governing board members elected, so they'd be sure to remember us when we came around for a hand-out later.

It's just business-as-usual, here in sunny Corruptifornia.

Please don't read the fine print. That's just put in by the lawyers to make what we're going to do to for you legal.

When you see highlighting in the documents below, it to see the commentary.

  Commentary    Question    Analysis    Argument in Favor    Rebuttal in Favor    Argument Against    Rebuttal Against    Full Text    Tax Rate  

Measure G Question

To update aging Novato schools and protect quality education with local funding that cannot be taken by the State, shall Novato Unified School District upgrade classrooms, science labs, libraries and facilities to meet current academic/safety standards; provide dedicated space for science, math, engineering arts and music instruction; and improve student access to modern instructional technology by issuing $222 million in bonds at legal rates, with , no money for administrators, and all funds staying local?

YES NO

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Impartial Analysis for Measure G

COUNTY COUNSEL'S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF BOND MEASURE G

NOVATO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

This measure was placed on the ballot by the Board of Trustees of the Novato Unified School District.

If this measure is approved by a 55% vote pursuant to Article XIIIA (1)(b)(3) of the California Constitution, the Novato Unified School District would be authorized to incur bonded indebtedness of up to two hundred and twenty-two million dollars ($222,000,000) with an interest rate not to exceed the limit set by law. The proceeds of the proposed bonds must be used for the purposes set forth in the measure and for no other purposes, and will be subject to oversight by a citizens' oversight committee and annual financial and performance audits.

s/STEVEN M. WOODSIDE
County Counsel

By s/Sheila Lichtblau, Deputy County Counsel

  Commentary    Question    Analysis    Argument in Favor    Rebuttal in Favor    Argument Against    Rebuttal Against    Full Text    Tax Rate  

Argument in Favor of Measure G

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF BOND MEASURE G

Vote YES on Measure G for high-quality, innovative education for Novato students.

Novato schools provide an excellent education for local students. Although students continue to excel, the average school in Novato is 55 years old and some are more than 60 years old. We need Measure G to make improvements to classrooms, labs and school facilities to accommodate 21st-century teaching and prepare students for the world ahead.

Improvements and repairs are also needed to protect student safety and save money by increasing energy efficiency. Measure G will update aging classrooms and educational facilities to meet current fire and safety codes, and enhance school security systems. Replacing heating and air conditioning systems, and .

Vote YES on Measure G to protect the quality of academic instruction in core subjects like math, science, reading and writing by:

  • Providing science, technology, engineering, math and language labs, classrooms and equipment that meet modern academic standards at all middle and high schools to prepare students for college and careers
  • Upgrading computers and instructional technology in all classrooms, labs and libraries and providing stable funding to keep them up-to-date
  • Repairing aging and deteriorating roofs and outdated electrical, lighting, plumbing, heating and cooling systems
  • Enhancing school security systems and video surveillance systems to ensure student safety at all schools

Strict Fiscal Accountability Required:

  • All funds will be controlled locally, will go to Novato schools and cannot be taken by the State
  • Measure G requires independent citizens' oversight and annual audits to ensure the money is spent as promised

Vote YES on Measure G to make repairs and up­dates to keep Novato schools among the best!

s/V-ANNE CHERNOCK
President, representing League of Women Voters of Marin County

s/DEAN MOSER

s/JENNIFER MARSH RUSSELL
Marin County Teacher of the Year

s/LOUISE KOENIG
65-Year Novato Resident and Local Business Owner

s/DALE KLINE
School Fuel Education Foundation Board Member

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Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure G

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF BOND MEASURE G

Do Novato schools excel? No. WASC's probation report found nine important deficiencies at San Marin High. San Marin High ranks third from the bottom in Marin and is failing in math; Novato High isn't much better.

Why $222 Million? That's the maximum NUSD can borrow given Novato's credit limit under State guidelines.

NUSD's newsletter describes Novato Voters as 'generous' because we've approved its past funding requests. A 2001 Facilities Bond expires in 2026 and a 2009 parcel tax (extended in 2014) expires in 2023. The parcel tax increased $96 to $251/parcel. Measure G is a new tax.

NUSD's priorities are confused. It spent $100,000 to study adding field-lights at San Marin High School (eventual cost: $1 Million) knowing it had $40 Million in unmet facility needs (including roof and plumbing repairs.)

NUSD surveyed Novato residents and learned resident's priorities are for academic and facilities improvements - then they ignored those priorities. That's like a homeowner spending money on recreation because roof and plumbing repairs are too expensive - you wouldn't do it and neither should NUSD.

NUSD is already subject to citizen oversight; it doesn't work. NUSD appoints the oversight committee and isn't obligated to listen. Remember: City of Novato pulled a bait and switch with Measure F funds in spite of citizen oversight. www.learnmoreNUSDbond.com/MeasureF

Oversight should come from voters. NUSD can't be trusted with a 25 year blank check that permits it to borrow up to its State mandated maximum.

Vote No. Make NUSD come back with a 5 year request so voters can oversee NUSD borrowing at reasonable intervals.

www.learnmoreNUSDbond.com

s/KENNETH LEVIN
Parent, Business Owner

s/JERRY KENNEY
Novato High School Principal, Retired

s/REGINALD W. LYLES
Novato Police Captain, Retired

s/LYNDA SCHEIBEL
Registered Nurse

s/STEPHEN D. MURPHY
Teamster

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Argument Against Measure G

ARGUMENT AGAINST BOND MEASURE G

NUSD wants a 25 year authority to borrow up to $222 Million for facility improvements. Seniors will pay; no senior exemptions.

Schools need funding however this request is for too much money over too many years.

If approved, NUSD plans to borrow $100 Million by selling bonds over a 4 year period. Then, without further voter approval, it will have a 'green light' to borrow another $122 Million at any time over the next 21 years.

Can we trust current and future NUSD Boards to spend bond money wisely for 25 years without additional voter approval? No. NUSD needs a tighter leash. NUSD should ask for five years worth of funding now and again in 5 years when voters can review NUSD's past performance.

Get the full story at www.learnmoreNUSDbond.com.

Consider:

  • With more than $40 Million in district-wide unmet needs (including roof repair, plumbing repair, classroom air-conditioning) from the last bond measure NUSD spent $100,000 to study lighting fields at San Marin High.
  • NUSD surveyed community priorities then ignored the results. The top 15 projects were academic/classroom related; lights were 16th. NUSD went for the lights.
  • San Marin High was put on academic probation in 2014 for two years. The accrediting agency, WASC, inspected in 2016 and will reinspect in 2017, years earlier than the usual six for schools in top standing. NUSD's serious problems won't be solved by spending $1Million on field lights.
  • NUSD tests students but admitted it doesn't follow up on that testing to improve curriculum and instruction.
  • Field lights or books? SMHS ranks third from the bottom academically in Marin. Only San Rafael High and Tomales High, the only high schools with lighted fields, fare worse.

Past citizen oversight has not worked. 25 years is too long; NUSD needs closer voter oversight.

Vote No.

s/KENNETH LEVIN
Parent, Business Owner

s/JERRY KENNEY
Novato High School Principal Retired

s/REGINALD W. LYLES
Novato Police Capt. (Retired)

s/LYNDA SCHEIBEL
Registered Nurse

s/STEPHEN D. MURPHY
Teamster

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Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure G

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST BOND MEASURE G

The opponents are either confused or intentionally misrepresenting the purpose of this important measure for our Novato schools. Measure G funds cannot be used for field lights at San Marin High School. By law, Measure G funds can only be used for the specific classroom and school facility upgrades listed in the legally-binding project list.

Here's the truth.

Novato schools are among the best in the State, with outstanding student test scores and 16 California Dis­tinguished School recognitions. Our schools provide excellent education for local students but 55-year-old schools must be upgraded. The state provides no funding for school facility improvements. Voting YES on G is the only way to provide safe, modern classrooms and science labs to prepare Novato students for college and tomorrow's careers.

Novato Unified School District spent over a year carefully assessing the needs at each school with input from hundreds of parents, teachers, facility experts and community members. Although over $500 million in facility needs were identified, Measure G only funds the most urgent and highest priority improvements identified at each school, including upgrades to outdated science, math, technology, and engineering labs and classrooms. Read the facility plan at www.YesonGNovato.org/masterplan.

Measure G requires independent citizen oversight and audits to ensure funds are spent as promised. State law does not allow for a senior exemption.

Whether or not you have school-age children, protecting our quality schools, quality of life and strong home values is a wise investment.

Join parents, teachers, business and community leaders – vote YES on G for Great Novato Schools.

s/MARY JANE BURKE
Marin County Superintendent of Schools

s/SANDRA BOWMAN
Realtor

s/ALICE DEMUSHKIN-DOW
San Marin Resident and Parent

s/COREE CAMERON
Local Accounting Business Owner and Former Chamber of Commerce President

s/KEN STEFFEN
Local Business Owner and Parent

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Full Text of Measure G

FULL TEXT OF BOND MEASURE G

By approval of this measure by at least fifty-five percent (55%) of the registered voters voting thereon, the Novato Unified School District shall be authorized to issue and sell bonds of up to $222 million in aggregate principal amount to provide financing for the specific school facilities projects listed below in the Bond Project List, subject to all of the accountability safeguards specified herein.

KEY FINDINGS

  • The Novato Unified School District is committed to continuing a strong, high-quality educational program for the students in all of its local public schools; and
  • The District has conducted a thorough Facilities Master Planning process with input from parents, teachers, staff, students, principals and members of the community to identify the upgrades needed at each school site in order to meet basic safety and accessibility standards, to meet the District's goals for supporting current academic standards, and to address specific priorities at individual school sites; and
  • The District believes that completing the identified upgrades will enable the District to ensure that all local students receive instruction in 21st century classrooms, labs and school facilities that support modern curriculum, provide a well-rounded education, and give students with the skills they need for college, career, and the competitive global economy; and
  • The District recognizes the need to upgrade classrooms, labs, instructional technology and educational facilities to support engaging, hands-on learning experiences in subjects including science, engineering and math; and
  • Specialized classrooms, instructional and performance spaces are needed to support Novato's award-winning programs in arts and music; and
  • Making schools more energy efficient and reducing the use of electricity, water and other resources will improve environmental sustainability and cut utility bills and create savings that can be used to protect the quality of core academic classroom programs like math, science, reading and writing; and
  • In 2001, Novato voters overwhelmingly approved local school facilities funding to complete the first significant repairs and renovations to local schools, many of which were built in the 1950s and 1960s, and all of these projects were completed nearly five years ago and the citizen's oversight committee verified that all funds were spent in accordance with voter-approved priorities;
  • Unlike the District's parcel tax funds which support the District's educational programs and staffing, bond revenue is the primary means by which the District is able to keep its school buildings and classrooms in good repair, safe, designed and equipped to support changing educational standards, methods and approaches; and
  • Novato schools receive the lowest level of per student funding in Marin County and the cost of identified upgrades and improvements are beyond the scope of the District's current operating budget and passing this bond measure provides a guaranteed source of local funding to maintain and improve this community's local school facilities; and
  • This bond measure will benefit local schools and no funds can be taken away by the State or other school districts, and by law, no money can be used for administrator salaries or pensions; and
  • This bond measure requires protections including mandatory annual audits and an independent citizens' oversight committee comprised of local residents to ensure funds are managed and spent properly.

Specifically, as further described in the Bond Project List, the Board of Trustees desires to:

?   Upgrade classrooms, science labs, libraries and facilities to meet current academic/ safety standards

?   Provide dedicated space for science, math, engineering art/music instruction and support 21st century learning; and

?   Improve student access to modern instructional technology

ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES

The provisions in this section are included in this proposition in order that the voters and taxpayers of the District may be assured that their money will be spent to address specific facilities needs of the District, all in compliance with the requirements of Article XIII A, section 1(b)(3) of the State Constitution, and the Strict Accountability in Local School Construction Bonds Act of 2000 (codified at Section 15264 et seq. of the California Education Code).

Evaluation of Needs. The Board of Trustees has evaluated the facilities needs of the District, and has identified projects to finance from a local bond measure at this time. The Board of Trustees hereby certifies that it has evaluated safety, class size reduction and information technology needs in developing the Bond Project List.

Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee. The Board of Trustees shall establish an independent Citizens' Oversight Committee in accordance with Education Code sections 15278-15282 and applicable Board policy, to ensure bond proceeds are expended only for the school facilities projects listed in the Bond Project List. The committee shall be established within sixty (60) days of the date when the Board of Trustees enters the results of the election in its official minutes.

Annual Performance Audit. The Board of Trustees shall conduct or cause to be conducted an annual, independent performance audit to ensure that the bond proceeds have been expended only on the school facilities projects described in the Bond Project List.

Annual Financial Audit. The Board of Trustees shall conduct or cause to be conducted an annual, independent financial audit of the bond proceeds until all of those proceeds have been spent for the school facilities projects described in the Bond Project List.

Annual Report to Board. Upon approval of this measure and the sale of any bonds approved, the Board of Trustees shall take actions necessary to establish an account in which proceeds of the sale of bonds will be deposited. As long as any proceeds of the bonds remain unexpended, the Superintendent shall cause a report to be filed with the Board of Trustees no later than January 1 of each year, commencing on the first January 1 after bonds have been issued and proceeds spent, stating (1) the amount of bond proceeds received and expended in the past fiscal year, and (2) the status of any project funded or to be funded from bond proceeds. The report may be incorporated into the annual budget, annual financial report, or other appropriate routine report to the Board.

BOND PROJECT LIST

This Bond Project List, which is an integral part of this proposition, describes the specific projects the District proposes to finance with proceeds of the bonds.

Proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized by this measure shall be used only for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities on the Bond Project List, including the furnishing and equipping of said school facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for said school facilities, and not for any other purpose, including teacher and administrator salaries and other school operating expenses.

In order to meet all identified facility needs, the District intends to complete projects using a combination of funding sources. These sources may include joint-use funds, development impact fees, state funds (if available), and other available funds. The District will pursue state matching funds if and when they become available, and if received, they will be used for and mainly applied to projects on the Bond Project List or other high priority capital outlay expenditures as permitted in Education Code section 17070.63(c). No project is dependent on the receipt of state funding for completion.

to be funded by the bond measure include, without limitation, the following:

I. COMPLETE BASIC UPGRADES TO MEET CURRENT STUDENT HEALTH AND SAFETY STANDARDS

  • Update aging classrooms and educational facilities to meet current fire, seismic and safety codes;
  • Fix and/or replace deteriorating roofs;
  • Repaint school exteriors and interiors and refresh or replace landscaping;
  • Resurface playgrounds and asphalt areas;
  • Remove or replace aging portable buildings and classrooms;
  • Replace outdated and deteriorating utility infrastructure, electrical, lighting, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems, and install air conditioning or other classroom cooling systems;
  • Acquire and install solar energy systems and equipment;
  • Repair and replace aging student restrooms and add restrooms in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms;
  • Create ADA-compliant access and safe pedestrian paths of travel at schools;
  • Improve security at schools by providing classroom intrusion alarms, video surveillance cameras, safety locks on classroom doors, and exterior lighting for student safety;
  • Upgrade emergency communications and technology backup systems, signage and fencing;
  • Improve student safety and traffic circulation by upgrading or providing additional school drop-off areas and parking lots;
  • Install or repair shade structures on school campuses and create sheltered eating and outdoor learning areas as needed;
  • Rebuild, equip and furnish school sites in the event of unforeseen emergency.

II. IMPROVE SCHOOLS TO MEET CURRENT ACADEMIC STANDARDS AND PROVIDE ACCESS TO MODERN INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY

  • Provide updated classroom audio/visual technology for content delivery and presentation, which may include projectors and/or large format flat-screen monitors and sound and voice amplification systems;
  • Acquire and install centrally manageable, networked loudspeaker/bell/clock systems
  • Acquire computer hardware for student use in the classroom that is current and up-to-date
  • Improve school site network infrastructure in order to enhance network-based content and curriculum delivery, which may include:

?   Upgrade and improve the routing and network aggregation capabilities for each site in order to support the larger numbers of concurrent network and internet connections;

?   Upgrade and improve the network access layer switching capabilities in order to support the larger numbers of devices on our school networks as well as supporting the higher speed requirements;

?   Upgrade and improve classroom wiring for both wired and wireless data communication;

?   Where necessary, upgrade and improve fiber network cabling between data wiring closets at the school sites;

  • Furnish classrooms and learning spaces with flexible furniture;
  • Build new or transform existing spaces to ensure functional kitchens, multi-use rooms and stages to meet District facility standards for elementary, middle and high schools.

III. PROVIDE DEDICATED SPACE FOR SCIENCE, MATH, ENGINEERING, ARTS/MUSIC INSTRUCTION, SUPPORT 21ST CENTURY LEARNING AND ADDRESS SPECIFIC PRIORITIES AT INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL SITES

  • Renovate, reconfigure, and/or repurpose existing classrooms and buildings to accommodate 21st century learning methods;
  • Construct, furnish and equip flexible classrooms, learning studios, innovation centers, collaboration spaces and maker spaces;
  • Renovate, repair and upgrade school libraries to accommodate modern technology;
  • Construct and/or improve, furnish and equip middle and high school performing arts and music spaces and venues;
  • Renovate and upgrade multipurpose rooms and play areas on elementary and middle school campuses;
  • Upgrade, construct or relocate food service facilities, community centers, meetings spaces, workrooms, and parent/student support service areas;
  • Install turf fields and improve track and athletic facilities on middle and high school campuses.

Projects listed below may be completed at any and all school sites and facilities where such project is determined by the Board to be necessary or required, and projects are authorized to be performed at each and all of the District's schools and sites, including without limitation:

?   Hamilton School K-8

?   Loma Verde Elementary School

?   Lu Sutton Elementary School

?   Lynwood Elementary School

?   Olive Elementary School

?   Pleasant Valley Elementary School

?   Rancho Elementary School

?   San Ramon Elementary School

?   San Jose Middle School

?   Sinaloa Middle School

?   Novato High School

?   San Marin High School

?   Hill Education Center

?   Novato Charter School

Listed projects, repairs, improvements, rehabilitation projects and upgrades will be completed only , and the listing of projects does not imply a particular prioritization among such improvements. Projects may be done in phases, based on Board of Trustees priorities. Listed projects may be completed at any and all District schools, sites and education buildings where such project is determined necessary. Decisions regarding the scope, timing, prioritization or other facets of project implementation will be made solely by the Board of Trustees by subsequent action. Where terms such as "renovate," "upgrade," "repurpose" and "improve" are used in the Bond Project List, the Board of Trustees shall determine the best method for accomplishing the project's objective. For any listed project involving renovation or modernization of a building or the major portion of a building, the District may proceed with new replacement construction instead (including any necessary demolition), if the District determines that replacement and new construction is more practical than renovation, considering the building's age, condition, expected remaining life, comparative cost, and other relevant factors. In addition, where feasible, .

is assumed to include its share of costs of bond issuance, architectural, engineering, and similar planning costs, construction management, and consultants, , new bond-funded equipment and systems, and a customary contingency for unforeseen design and construction costs. In addition to the projects listed above, the Bond Project List also includes , environmental studies, permit and inspection fees, and temporary housing and relocation costs for dislocated programs or activities caused or necessitated by construction projects.

The final cost of each project will be determined as plans are finalized and projects are completed. Based on the final costs of each project, certain of the projects described above may be delayed or may not be completed. Necessary site preparation/grading/restoration may occur in connection with new construction, modernization, renovation or remodeling, including ingress and egress, removing, replacing or installing irrigation, utility lines, trees and landscaping, relocating fire access roads, and acquiring any necessary easements, leases, licenses, or rights of way to the property.

ADDITIONAL SPECIFICATIONS

No Administrator Salaries. Proceeds from the sale of Bonds authorized by this proposition shall be used only for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities on the Bond Project List, including the furnishing and equipping of said school facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for said school facilities, and not for any other purpose, including teacher and administrator salaries and other school operating expenses.

Single Purpose. All of the purposes enumerated in this proposition shall be united and voted upon as one single proposition, pursuant to Section 15100 of the California Education Code, and all the enumerated purposes shall constitute the specific single purpose of the bonds and proceeds of the bonds shall be spent only for such purpose.

Other Terms of the Bonds. The bonds may be issued and sold in several series, and in accordance with a financing plan determined by the Board of Trustees pursuant to requirements of law. When sold, the bonds shall bear interest at an annual rate not exceeding the statutory maximum and with a maximum term not exceeding the statutory maximum, provided that the average useful life of bonds sold will not exceed one hundred twenty percent (120%) of the average life of the projects being financed or as otherwise provided by federal tax law. Bond funds may be used to reimburse the District for Bond Project list expenditures incurred prior to the election and bond issuance, in accordance with federal tax law.

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Measure G Tax Rate Statement

TAX RATE STATEMENT FOR BOND MEASURE G

An election will be held within the boundaries of Novato Unified School District ("School District") on November 8, 2016 to authorize the sale of up to $222,000,000 in bonds to finance facilities as described in the proposition. If the bonds are approved, the School District expects to sell the bonds in multiple series. Principal and interest on the bonds will be payable from the proceeds of tax levies made upon the taxable property located within the School District. The following information is provided in compliance with Sections 9400-9404 of the California Elections Code.

  1. The best estimate of the tax rate that would be required to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the sale of the first series of bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $.0600 per $100 ($60.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2017-18.
  2. The best estimate of the tax rate that would be required to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the sale of the last series of bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $.0600 per $100 ($60.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2025-26.
  3. The best estimate of the highest tax rate that would be required to fund this bond issue, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing this statement, is $.0600 per $100 ($60.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.
  4. The best estimate from official sources of the total debt service, including the principal and interest, that would be required to be repaid if all the bonds are issued and sold will be approximately $431,000,000.

Voters should note that the estimated tax rate is based on the ASSESSED VALUE of taxable property on the County of Marin official tax rolls, not on the property's market value. Property owners should consult their own property tax bills to determine their property's assessed value and any applicable tax exemptions.

Attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information is based upon the District's projections and estimates only, which are not binding upon the District. The actual tax rates, debt service and the years in which they will apply may vary from those presently estimated, due to variations from these estimates in the timing of bond sales, the amount of bonds sold and market interest rates at the time of each sale, and actual assessed valuations over the term of repayment of the bonds. The dates of sale and the amount of bonds sold at any given time will be determined by the District based on need for construction funds and other factors. The actual interest rates at which the bonds will be sold will depend on the bond market at the time of each sale. Actual future assessed valuation will depend upon the amount and value of taxable property within the District as determined by the County Assessor in the annual assessment and the equalization process.

s/JIM HOGEBOOM
Superintendent

Dated: June 21, 2016

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