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September 20, 2020
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Focusing on finances...

By: Cassandra May Albaugh
October 18, 2019

The Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District (CRPUSD) met on Tues., Oct. 15 for their regularly scheduled board meeting at the Mt. Shadows Educational Center in Rohnert Park. A quick review of the agenda showed that this month’s meeting would focus on fiscal issues for the district to consider. The agenda consisted of routine items such as reports and votes on personnel actions combined with new items pertaining to the budget and financing of district projects. Supporting documents can be found on the district’s website as attachments to the agenda.

Official correspondence received was the annual report from the Redwood Empire Schools’ Insurance Group (RESIG). This report is required for Public Self-Insurers’. This group covers 51 school districts. As found on the RESIG web site: “RESIG began on July 1, 1979, as a Joint Powers Authority for Self-Insurance of Workers’ Compensation Coverage for the public-school districts of Sonoma County. The organization evolved to provide self-funded programs for Workers’ Compensation, Property, Liability and Dental benefits and the group purchase of both HMO and Indemnity Health Benefit Programs.” The bottom line of this annual report was that REGIS has sufficient funds to cover all outstanding liabilities and identifies potential claims of $11,734,512 as of the 30 of June closing date. 

Other fiscal items were contained as part of the Consent Agenda. These included ratifications of commercial warrants which is an approval of funds expended since the last board meeting. Also approved were budget transfers which is shifting funds from one budget to another in order to meet current obligations. Finally, the board approved “Out of District Consultants and Contractors”. All items were approved by a 5-0 vote.

The heart of the meeting was found in the Board Services Agenda items. A fiscal update and planning report presentation was given by Robert A. Marical, the Chief Business Official. This report is a regular monthly agenda item as requested by the board. Given the fiscal pressures the district is under, the board wanted more frequent update to monitor attendance and expenses. This report continues to show small declines in enrollment and a slight drawdown of the district’s reserve fund to cover deficit spending.

Two major resolutions were presented to the board for approval. They involved bond issues. The first was requesting authorization to issue and sell up to 18.6 million in aggregate principal from the 80-million-dollar bond issue that was passed by the voters in 2016. Previously 61.4 million had been authorized in three previous offerings to cover facilities and infrastructure costs and improvements such as the Theater, Arts, Gym (TAG) building on the Rancho Cotate High School Campus in Rohnert Park. This authorization covers the remaining availability of funds from that bond issue. The resolution passed on a 5-0 vote of the board.

The next item was a request to authorize the issuance and sale of 2020 General Obligation Refunding Bonds not to exceed 6 million dollars. As proposed by Mr. Marical: “The District desires to initiate proceedings for the issuance of a series of General Obligation Refunding Bonds in order to realize debt savings to the taxpayers of the District by refunding certain

maturities of the district’s outstanding 2010 General Obligation Refunding Bonds.” Trustee Chrissa Gillies asked Marical to explain these bonds and how much would taxpayers be saved. He explained, by redeeming these particular bonds and reissuing them at today’s lower interest rates he estimated the taxpayers would save in excess of two hundred thousand dollars. He also clarified this would not extend the maturity date of these bonds which will remain as 2025. This resolution was also passed with a vote of 5-0. 

The final fiscal matter presented was during Dr. Michael Watenpaugh’s Superintendent’s Report on the Parcel Tax and Bond Oversight Committee. He met with both committees and expects their formal reports to be a future agenda item, likely in Dec. of this year. The bottom line appears to be that this board and the district staff are paying close attention to fiscal matters to ensure the school district remains solvent and moves forward in a fiscally responsible manner.