Oakdale taxpayers are going to get a ‘break’ thanks to the due diligence and efforts of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District board of trustees. It will be a savings to the tune of $1.6 million, Superintendent of Schools Marc Malone shared with the public and board during Monday night’s scheduled meeting, April 10.
The savings came by way of a refinance of general obligations bonds which were passed during the 2002 election. Earlier this year the board enlisted the aid of Jon Isom of Isom Advisors to revisit the Bonds Series A, B and C and the possibility of lowering the interest rate via re-finance.
A press release issued by OJUSD stated: Similar to a home loan refinancing, school districts in California can also refinance outstanding loans … Interest rates on the old bonds ranged from 4.00 percent to 4.75 percent. The interest rate (also known as True Interest Cost) on the new refunding bonds is 2.41 percent. The difference in interest rates is what allowed to the District to reduce tax payment over the remaining years of the bonds. All of the savings from the refunding will be passed on to local property taxpayers by lowering property taxes by an estimated $120,000 every year until 2030, when the bonds are paid off.
School board members approved the partnership with Isom Advisors following a presentation made by Jon Isom at the Feb. 27 school board meeting, setting the stage for the re-financing process.
“It’s not very often that elected officials have the opportunity to put money back into the citizenry’s pockets and this elected board did that,” Malone said Monday night. “I consider that a pretty fair day of trading and definitely a victory for our citizenry. The board is to be commended.”
Board member Mike House inquired how the bond items will now appear on taxpayer bills, Malone shared they will remain as three line items just at a reduced rate.
“The community has been tremendously supportive of our schools, and we want to make sure that we are looking out for them when we can,” Board President Barbara Shook stated in the press release, “especially if it means saving them money.”
Among the other action items was a Declaration of Emergency to make repairs at Magnolia Elementary, as a result of February’s extreme weather. Superintendent Malone explained that during the storm a portion of roof top failed to withhold exterior water, resulting in significant water damage to a classroom. The emergency status allows the district to proceed with repair and restoration of the building before damage grows by way of mold and additional water damage.
During the Public Comment portion of the meeting, community member Rebekah Remkiewicz addressed the board expressing concern with the pacing of the math curriculum at the elementary school level.
Remkiewicz, an educator outside of OJUSD and mother to elementary aged students in the district stated, “Today as a mom I express my concern because I have a fourth grader at home who is beginning to feel failure is imminent despite my insistence to the contrary and despite every effort by his teacher and his principal.”
The educator cited findings by way of research and survey in support of her frustration with the rigor being applied to elementary age students. No request for action was made toward the board.
The next public meeting will be held Monday, May 8 at the OJUSD Technology and Staff Development Center, starting at 6:30 p.m.