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Draft minutes from June Measure C Bond Oversight committee meeting

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 7:05 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Since the draft minutes from the 2010 Measure C Bond Oversight Committee meeting haven’t been posted on the district’s website, I’m posting them below. The committee expects to approve the minutes at its meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the district office.

Minutes from the August special bond committee meeting do not appear on the agenda.

“2010 Measure C Oversight Committee
Meeting Minutes
6/16/11
Draft

Members Present: Jay Bedecarre, John Ferrante, Faye Mettler, Jenny Reik, Bonnie McDonald, Susan Noack, Marc Willis, Larry Wirick, John Parker, Tina Seagrove, Connie Schulte, Alicia Minyen, John Burke

Members Absent: Mark Weinmann(excused), Rick Callaway (unexcused)

Board Representative: Cheryl Hansen

Staff: Pete Pedersen, Tim Cody, Mitchell Stark, Linda Carter, Richard Jackson, Marc Fabie, Brad Hunter

John Ferrante called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM

There was no public comment.

Copies of the March 17, 2011 meeting minutes were distributed. Susan Noack made a motion to approve the minutes and Faye Mettler seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Susan Noack made a request that the draft of the minutes be sent out to all committee members within a few days after the meeting and then again right before the next meeting. It was agreed that that would be the process.

Pete told the committee that two people have applied to be on the Oversight Committee. The Committee currently has the number of people from the required community groups per Prop. 39 verbiage. Susan Noack said she supported adding members due to the fact that we often have committee members absent. The rest of the committee agreed. Pete will forward the applications to John Ferrante.

Pete introduced the two new members of the Measure C staff: Richard Jackson, Construction Manager II, and Marc Fabie, Logistics/Project Coordinator.

John Parker asked how much staff Measure C currently has. Pete said that he would like to address that later in the meeting and John agreed.

Measure C Team Headquarters relocation: Tim Cody showed a map of Holbrook Elementary which will serve as a base/headquarters for the the Measure C staff, along with the MDUSD SunPower project team and various consutants, architects, etc. He showed the
committee the rooms that would used. Tim emphasized that Measure C has attempted to be sensitive to the staff at Holbrook as they pack and move. Pete reiterated that the Measure C team has not been at the site discussing or encouraging the move with the staff. The team hopes to be able to move before the end of June. John Parker wanted to know what was going to be stored in the MU room. Pete stated that at this time there was only lighting slated to be stored in the
MU and that there would be no machinery or any big trucks making deliveries that would impactthe neighborhood. Cheryl Hansen asked how the school was informed that Measure C would be moving to Holbrook; that they didn’t seem to know. Pete replied that he believed that the school closure committee, M & O or warehouse was responsible for communicating with the Holbrook Administration and staff. John Parker asked if Holbrook was more desirable than Glenbrook. Pete stated that there are other possible plans for Glenbrook.

Annual Performance Audit: Bryan Richards, MDUSD CFO, suggested we hire Christy White as our auditor. Pete provided the committee with a copy of the potential agreement with Christy White. John Parker and Jenny Reik questioned why we would go all the way to San Diego for an auditor and Marc Willis wondered what experience she had; should we do an RFP instead? Alicia Minyen was concerned that if the scope of the audit changed how would that impact the cost over the three year period of the contract. And who determines the scope? Pete said the scope was determined by recommendation from the CFO. Susan Noack “googled” and discovered that Christy White is the auditor for the Contra Costa County Office of Education. After further discussion it was decided that Pete would ask Bryan for more information about Christy White and that Cheryl Hansen would inquire from her fiscal department at the CCCOE what their experience had been with her firm and the responses will be forwarded to the committee members. A motion was made by Jay Bedecarre to approve the Christy White contract pending possible negative information. Larry Wirick seconded the motion. The motion
passed with one nay vote. (Alicia Minyen).

Solar Project-status report: Mitchell Stark stated that there are currently 16 sites that were approved by DSA and are under construction. Many of the Increment 2 sites have been approved and the rest are due to go to DSA soon. The architects have not experienced any problems or concerns from DSA during the approval process. Designs and schematics for Increment 3 are being completed. Pete advised that the solar project school sites were grouped in geographical areas to increase efficiency; however some Inc. 2 sites have been accelerated in order to mitigate impact on school and neighborhoods. Glenbrook and Holbrook are being held out awaiting direction from the School Board. Contingency letters have been sent out to schools in case construction is ongoing at the beginning of the school year and the team tried to address all possible contingencies. The information is to be distributed by the sites as they deem most efficient. Susan Noack stated that her school (Strandwood) website cannot link to the Measure C website. Pete will investigate and see if this can be resolved. The Measure C team will do whatever it can to enhance outreach.

Faye Mettler wondered who was responsible for getting information to the school and community. Pete emphasized that the Measure C team has been to all the schools and spoken to Administration, staff and other school community members; created a website, met with all City managers and Federal Glover and that we have sent out brochures, but it was assumed that the individual schools will get the information to the school community.

Jon Parker asked if the Measure C staff would be speaking with the new principals. Marc Fabie said yes and that the team has asked to be on the agenda at the meetings.

Faye suggested signs and Cheryl agreed. It was also suggested that the District encourage the sites to communicate with their local community. Pete related that the signs were already in progress.

Connie Schulte wondered how we kept the arrays from being vandalized. Pete said that we really have no way of doing that but that he has not heard of any real problems. John Ferrante added that Pittsburg Unified put up solar arrays and have not experienced any vandalism.

HVAC Project-status report: Tim Cody reported that all information is online and that the schematics are finished and they are on to the design phase, then to DSA. They are right on schedule. Cheryl Hansen asked if they are controlled at the site or at the M &O office? Tim said that they have individual thermostats but we do have the capability of controlling globally. He also stated that the new units can feed up to 6 classrooms.

Technology Infrastructure-status report: Tim Cody stated that Optiman will soon be all over the district. We will also be issuing a RFP for security.

High School Projects: Pete advised that each high school has been allotted 1.5 million dollars and was asked for a “wish-list” to be submitted to the Measure C team. The team will put together rough costs and get back to the sites. At the June 28, 2011 Board meeting the team will submit a list of projects. The monies for these projects will come from Prop 55, 2002 Measure C, 2010 Measure C and Developer Fees.

DSA Certification Projects: Three projects have been closed, we are working on two more and there are 13 projects that we are still gathering data on.

Financials: Mitchell Stark reported that the District had another Bond sale for 1.5 million. $175, 000 was moved to Measure C, mostly for legal fees.

Alicia Minyen asked who or what determines a Bond sale? Pete stated that the cash flow requirements associated with the projects: solar, HVAC, determine the timing of a Bond sale. There are time limits on Bond expenditures and there will be multiple Bond sales driven by the needs and timelines and management issues of the projects.

John Parker wondered what the purview of the Oversight Committee is with regard to Bond sales. Pete related that he didn’t believe it was in the Committee’s purview to make decisions related to the sale of the bonds. Pete said that, if the Committee requests, he would schedule Bryan Richards at a later meeting to explain Bonds. Pete also stated that they would look at using the same format as the previous Measure C quarterly report to indicate the cash flow of the
Bond money.

Mitchell showed with a power point demonstrations how the money has been spent thus far.

John Ferrante asked why the irrigation project was put on hold. Pete reported that he and the team were not comfortable with the lack of hard info and data that is available and were waiting for better technology.

Pete, using current and past data, shared with the committee, a comparison of actual staffing/management costs when Vanir provided Construction Management service for the 2002 Measure C program and positions and approximate costs to date with the present “in” house residential staffing mode.

John Parker asked what the anticipated cost is for next year. Pete stated that the total for the entire seven years should be about 8.1 million.

Marc Willis asked, again, about the possibility of going on a field trip to SunPower. Pete will look into it.

John Ferrante mentioned that if a member’s one or two year term was up, they had a choice to leave or to sign up for another term. The limit is two terms-either two year terms or one year or a combination. If a member does leave it is asked they try to find their own replacement.

Linda will email the people whose terms are ending.

It was suggested that we move the Public Comment section of the agenda to a different spot.

Pete shared the question posed by Alicia Minyen at the last meeting regarding COPS and the response from Meredith Johnson, Bond Counsel. Alicia says that she will look into it further.

The scheduled meetings for year are:
September 15, 2011(next meeting)
December 15, 2011
March 15, 2012
June 21, 2012
The meeting was adjourned at 9:25PM”

As you can see, the committee never discussed the fact that there would be no July organizational meeting, as required by its bylaws.

Do you think the district should post the draft minutes online before the meeting?

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Dan

    Pete Pedersen and Ferrante are trying to ramrod their agenda through the system without letting the proper proposition 39 issues analyze the situation and actually oversee the bond.

    It is clear what Pedersen’s interest is in doing this: he gets to handsomely line his pockets.

    The big question: what does Ferrante get out of this? anyone know?

  • LindaL

    Tonight on the news Gary Eberhart said he would discuss solar numbers with anyone who disagrees with him. Do you think he will agree to the public round table meeting now or was tonight just a hollow promise like that last time he said he would meet?

  • g

    Well your post of Draft minutes did not self-distruct, so it looks like it would be a good idea to post them as soon as they are presented to the committee.

    These seem to be very comprehensive minutes.

    Although Alicia was approved by the committee on 12/16/10, and was apparently the only item on the Dec. Agenda that was completed, Pete waited for over three months to present Alicia’s membership to the Board for ratification. Alicia probably was at the meeting on 3/17, but her name wasn’t listed, and those minutes say there was No Public Comment, and…

    Pete, 6/16: “the question posed by Alicia Minyen at the last meeting regarding COPS and the response from Meredith Johnson…”

    Hmmmm, Alicia’s COPS question did not even make it into those March minutes for some strange reason….

    They are proving for me my contention that the Committee needs their own Admin and Tech if they want all of their activities to be reported accurately.

  • g

    Alicia asked a really pertinent question about Bond Sales. Pedersen put her off saying they have to use the money from a sale in a certain amount of time.

    However, in the Quarterly Report covering financials thru 7/31, they say they are sitting on $19million as a “buffer”. So why would they make a new sale of piddly $1.5million, which costs hundreds of thousands in soft costs? That’s just crazy!

    Pedersen tells Parker it is not within the committee’s scope to make decisions about bond sales.

    Well he is correct about that—but he should be reminded that it IS their Responsibility to immediately report to the Board and the Public if they feel that money is being wasted or spent irresponsibly. Every little sale cost big money!

    Is he making too many multiple small sales in a short amount of time just to pad the “soft money” pockets?

  • Linda L

    Last night on the Channel 5 news Gary Eberhart said that the solar project, including interest, will cost $93 million.
    REALLY?
    Mr. Eberhart, please enlighten us on your claim that solar with interest will only cost $93 mil.
    Construction Costs?
    Construction Management Costs?
    DSA Fees?
    Other Fees?
    Other Soft Cost?
    Bond Issuance Costs?
    Bond Interest including acceretion rates for heavily discounted bonds?
    Any other expenses related to the solar project (black top repair if not included in contract, etc..)?

    I assume if you can make the $93mil claim on the evening news, you can fill in the blanks for these expenses. Please help us understand.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Linda, What news report was this? Is there a link to the video?

  • Linda L

    Oooops accretion not acceretion.

  • Linda L

    KPIX Channel 5 6pm
    I haven’t seen the link but at least two people I know taped it.

  • g
  • g

    I figure this is how Gary’s mind works: You say it is going to “cost” $94million. If you start with $324million, take away the hopeful $5million from the state, take away the hopeful energy savings of $225million.

    What you are left with a “cost over benefit” of $94million. In his mind–that works.

  • Number Eight

    Dredging up ancient history, the Measure D parcel tax would have gained more funds more quickly for our teachers and students… without a bond oversight committee, bond attorney fees, maintenance fees and accruing interest…

  • Linda L

    Number 8,
    Exactly! $35mil for the kids over 5 yrs and $35mil out of the community. A direct one for one exchange. No interest. We would not jeopardize the funding opportunities for future generations. I would like to see a snapshot in time of the cost to our community and the effects on future bonding capacity in 2030. It is easy to ignore because it is 20 years out but the consequences are very real.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Meeting reminder: http://bit.ly/pGNJfd

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    Gary says that the solar panels will save $225 million over thirty years. Even if the panels could last that long without significant new renovation dollars — I can’t find any solar provider on the web that will project anything close to a 30-year life for their products — we will still be PAYING for them for over 40 years. Is Gary unable to understand those two concerns, or is he simply unwilling ever to acknowledge them?

  • Doctor J

    @Jim, Remember Gary was out of work, took a solar class paid for by MDUSD, and then promoted himself as a solar expert for school districts, and got a new job, but I have never heard of any projects he has worked on. There are two issues of longevity: the solar panels themselves and also the longevity of the technology. How would you like to be using a PC today that you bought in 1991 ? That’s what Gary wants us to do.

  • Alicia M

    G #4 – While the decision to make bond sales is not subject to the BOC’s purview, I had stated during that meeting that underwriting and legal fees are expensive. When the district issues a relatively small offering, I think it is our purview to find out why as a way to determine how and if the district is making any efforts to minimize such professional fees.

  • Alicia M
  • g

    ;) well I guess when the penalty is less than your dinner tab…you might as well go for it! I hate to admit Portland voters are smarter than we are, but there you have it!

  • Theresa Harrington

    During the Bond Oversight Committee meeting this evening, committee member John Parker specifically objected to this comment by Dan.
    Parker said he does not post on blogs, but he wanted the Times to report that John Ferrante is his friend and that Ferrante gets nothing out of this except the satisfaction of serving his community.
    At the meeting, Ferrante agreed to postpone the annual report to the board — which he originally planned to make Oct. 11 — until after the performance and financial audits are completed, at the request of some committee members.
    Pedersen initially said he planned to move forward with solar projects at Glenbrook and Holbrook, but Ferrante and others questioned whether it made financial sense to pursue projects at Holbrook. So, Pedersen said he would seek guidance from the superintendent and board.
    Board President Gary Eberhart was in attendance, along with Trustees Linda Mayo and Cheryl Hansen. Mayo spoke during public comment, saying that the solar projects were included in voter materials. She also said solar projects were mentioned in some campaign materials.
    Committee member Alicia Minyen suggested that the board be given a presentation regarding the solar savings calculations. Pedersen said that could happen at the next meeting.
    A member of the public said the district should reimburse Minyen for the money she spent on public documents, but no committee member responded to this idea.
    Parker also asked Pedersen to provide the committee with more information about staffing, including job descriptions. Minyen said fractional staff should fill out time sheets to properly account for the time they spend on Measure C projects.
    I videotaped portions of the meeting and hope to post links to the video tomorrow.

  • Linda L

    Last night Pete Pederson said that putting solar on Holbrook is a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.
    I hope the Board reconsiders this move. Since the school is closed, and Pederson confirmed that if there was no energy use there would be no energy savings, the committee was right to question the move to go forward with solar.
    According to the quarterly report the budgeted cost for solar at Holbrook is approximately $1,000,000 of a $92mil overall budget. That is approximately 1%. In rough calculations if you take 1% of the CSI rebates and attribute them to Holbrook then we can say for a $1,000,000 investment the district will receive $33,000 per year for 5 years ($165,000). That is not my idea of a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

  • Anon

    Has solar construction begun at Holbrook? Does anyone know?

  • Theresa Harrington

    According to the PowerPoint presentation, which is on the Measure C website, Holbrook and Glenbrook are in the third increment, which begins Oct. 27-28.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Note that the June draft minutes say: “Glenbrook and Holbrook are being held out awaiting direction from the School Board.”
    This is the opposite of what Pedersen said last night, when he initially told the committee that he planned to move forward with solar on the closed sites unless he was told not to. After getting push-back from some committee members, he agreed to ask the superintendent whether he should pursue solar at the closed sites.

  • Number Eight

    Theresa,
    Is the 200 page quarterly report online? Does it show the cost for HVAC at Loma Vista? There are no K-12 students at Loma Vista. Is HVAC at Loma Vista adult education a proper use for Measure C funds? Should K-12 sites have first priority?

  • Theresa Harrington

    #8: Yes, the quarterly report is online. It shows the district has budgeted $4.5 million for HVAC at Loma Vista. It expects to start bidding for the project Dec. 12 and to complete construction by Dec. 31, 2012.
    This is in the first phase of construction. Some other schools won’t get air conditioning until 2013-2016. The last schools to get air conditioning will be Highlands Elem., Pleasant Hill Elem., Walnut Acres Elem., El Dorado MS, Pine Hollow MS and Sequoia MS in Pleasant Hill.
    This schedule was approved by the board. At that time, I believe Pedersen said schools that were first to get air conditioning would be last to get modernization and vice versa. However, the modernization master schedule by schools wasn’t included in the quarterly report.

  • Number Eight

    Wow adult ed gets $4.5 mil and priority over K-12 sites. Wow.

  • The Observer

    Theresa

    Interesting Tableau at last night’s Measure C meeting/

    Gary Eberhart sitting up on his “throne” looking down like a proud father as Linda Mayo presented a prepared statement complete with visual aids defending the district’s less than transparent inclusion of a massive solar project in Measure C.

    Must have been very impressive to the Grand Jury visitor I saw

    In a defining moment the former Eberhart/Whitmarsh/Strange tiumvirate officially became the Eberhart/Whtimarsh/Mayo Trio. Mayo’s motion to close Glenbrook and Holbrook, her reluctance to speak to the Glenbrook and Holbrook communities, and her second of Whitmarh’s motion to approve the CVCHS conditions are more telling after her performance last night.

    Do you think Mayo will claim the Stockholm Syndrome?

  • Theresa Harrington

    FYI, the school board will hold a strategic planning meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the district office: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_agendaview.aspx?mtgId=333.
    I have also heard that Tuesday’s board meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. to allow time for API school recognitions.

  • Dan

    John Parker,

    I simply asked what Ferrante is getting out of this, I did not imply anything nefarious in my question. Your opinion is accepted. I happen to wonder about other motivations.

    His close conversation proceeding the meeting with Gary indicated otherwise to me, but that is simply my opinion. My opinion is further supported by Mr. Ferrante’s reluctance to comply with Brown Act meeting rules. I would assume that a citizens willingness to violate meeting rules to accomodate a particular entity (in this case the district) is possible evidence of a quid pro quo.

    I am also willing to entertain gross incompetence. I am even willing to consider nefarious behaivour on the part of Pedersen with ferrante not being willing to stand up to him. This last meeting that tenor seemed to change.

    I hope I am wrong.

  • g

    Pedersen is (should) no longer be associated with District M&O. He is no longer Superintendent of squat at the District Level.

    Wasn’t he retired and then(re)hired solely as the Project Lead to put together a team of 2010 Measure C Construction Managers?

    Why is he still determining how to merge and mingle Funds from Measure A, 55, deferred maintenance, etc.???

    Why is the Committee still allowing his continued merge and blurring of books, funds and projects paid for by other funds. He did the same thing throughout the 2002 Measure C.

    To boost the outcome and pass another Measure, the people were told that Measure C had accomplished sooo much–when in fact many millions worth of other work was done using other funds, (ie, the HVAC systems for about 17 schools, etc).

    It puts a false rosy-face on the accomplishments of Measure C. There’s no problem with using those other funds to finance their own projects–they should be used, but they should have their books and work and ‘accolades’ kept entirely separate.

    The co-mingling of all of the funds into Measure C projects and reports is purposely misleading to all but the most involved and insiders, and in my book is fraud against the voters-(again).

  • Wait a Minute

    As the excellent article on the widespread legal violations by the Portland school district regarding their attempted bond that Alicia posted above shows–corruption exists in public education.

    I hope the good people of the MDUSD are making complaints to the Grand Jury, DA, Federal Prosecutor, Representative George Miller, Senators Feinstein/Boxer and Ca State Senator and Representative to investigate the considerable corruption and mismanagement, and mis-use of power by the MDUSD’s so called “leaders”, and that includes Mr. Pederson.

  • g

    Alicia; I understand the Committee cannot make a decision or recommendation to the board, unless done in public comment. But, question: Item 14.7 on the Agenda for 9/27—”The approval of the resolution does not obligate the District to refund all or any of the Series 2004 Bonds. Completion of the refunding will be dependent upon favorable market conditions at the time of the sale and achieving sufficient debt service savings. Certain financial and legal professionals will be involved in the sale of the refunding bonds. All fees and expenses incurred by these professionals will be paid from the proceeds of the refunding bonds.”

    Does this mean that they can go ahead and “sell” the million dollar bond, but just “bank it”, and not actually use it to refund the 2004 issue–and/or use it any other way they want–or simply collect the interest for “other” purposes?

    If it’s such a money saver, and if they’re going to sell the million to pay off “most” of 2004, why not sell $1.5 million and pay off “all” of 2004?

  • g

    Alicia, correcting my above post: I meant one hundred million, and $157million to payoff all of both 2004 and 2006 when interest rates were, I believe at their highest point.

  • Alicia M

    G-#32.

    It sounds like the District is going to “Pre-Refund” also known as “Advance Refunding” of the 2004 Bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates. Remember that the district made a “political promise” to keep our taxes at or below $60 per $100k of assessed valuation on property. I suspect, that we are close to the $60 cap, and the district will have to either not issue bonds to not exceed this cap or issue bonds that don’t require immediate debt service, like capital appreciation bonds where interest and principal payments are deferred.

    If the district needs to sell more 2010 Measure C bonds to raise money to pay for current projects, then in order to not exceed the $60 cap, they will try to create some wiggle room by refinancing (aka “refunding”) some of the bonds sold under the 2002 Measure C. (I’m just guessing.)

    However, the district cannot refinance the 2002 bond automatically. It depends on whether there were built in “call” dates, those are pre-disclosed dates prior to maturity where the issuer (that is the district) can decide to pay off the bonds on that pre-mature date (aka “redemption”).

    I haven’t had time to read the 2004 bond sale prospectus,
    which you can find at:

    http://emma.msrb.org/MS222341-MS197649-MD383713.pdf

    I’m guessing that this bond prospectus earliest call date is 2013, and so that means the district cannot pay off (i.e., redeem) these bonds until then. HOWEVER, there is such a thing as “Pre-Refunding” bonds (aka, “Advance Refunding”), where you can pre-refinancing bonds before the call date by putting money to meet the originally scheduled principal and interest payments in an escrow account (I think this is what you mean by “bank it”). And then after the call date in 2013, the remaining bonds will be refinanced, i.e., refunded, with the lower interest rate terms. Please see the following links below:

    http://emma.msrb.org/EducationCenter/WhatIsARD.aspx

    Please go to the link regarding callable municipal bonds:

    http://www.sec.gov/answers/callablebonds.htm

  • Alicia M

    G – More on Advance Refunding

    I think Isom is trying to explain that there is interest rate risk. Rates can rise, and then the district misses a good opportunity to refinance. Or interest rates may continue to decline, where if the district refinances now, it may miss an even better opportunity in the future. Of course there are always fees that are incurred when issuing bonds, so the Board will have to consider all costs and benefits in making this decision.

  • Alicia M

    G- Correction on #34 -

    Capital appreciation bonds where interest is deferred, not necessarily principal. Interest is compounded on CAB bonds.

  • Theresa Harrington

    It’s surprising that Pedersen didn’t mention this plan to spend up to $160,750 in 2010 Measure C funds for Bay Point school planning to the Bond Oversight Committee last week: http://bit.ly/pdBFBG

  • g

    Pedersen is careful not to tip his hand. At least their finally getting closer to bringing back to the public eye that they paid a Million dollars an acre, at the height of the boom to buy an 11 acre washboard side of a hill. $5millon measure C, and $5.850million of Measure “55″. Of course, since then, the hill has been flattened, a hole dug, and Seeno has used it for a dump and grade ground for his Alves Ranch building sites over the last few years.

  • Number Eight

    The article doesn’t say 2010 Measure C funds? It makes better sense to use developer fees for this contract. Time for the board to differentiate the different pots of money. Every time they use 2010 Measure C, we’ll be paying with accrued interest for 40 years! Ouch!

  • g

    By the way new 2002 Measure C BOC. Try finding that $11million in your quarterly reports back in 04,05,06,07- the timeframe of the deal- I don’t think you’ll find it there. One little mention back in about how–since they got the money for Delta View someplace else-(also very interesting)-they wouldn’t need the money they planned to use there, so how about they buy space for a K-8 school– Some on the committee that live out that way thought it would be a good idea to look into it. A million dollars an acre for the side of a hill.

  • Number Eight

    By the way, someone please explain (slowly for us poor taxpayers) how a new school is covered as Measure C repairs? Oh, repairs was just “a political promise.”

  • Theresa Harrington

    According to the agenda report, the money will come from 2010 Measure C: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=4472&mtgId=308.
    I have sent Pedersen an email asking where this fits into the 2010 Measure C Facilities Master Plan (or what it is replacing). I have a copy of that master plan and it doesn’t include a new Bay Point school or renovating Riverview MS for grades 7-12, or renovating Bel Air, Delta View, Rio Vista and Shore Acres elementary schools for K-6 students.

  • Theresa Harrington

    In looking at my notes from the first Northgate solar installation, Dick Nicoll said Johnston Controls gave the district a performance guarantee that showed the energy savings would be able to fund the solar panels at no cost to the taxpayers.
    Jeff McDaniel, who was the district’s facilities and operations program manager at the time, said “Northgate’s solar system should pay for itself in 15 years.”
    Instead, the district paid off the lease-buyback contract with taxpayer-funded 2010 Measure C funds.
    McDaniel said Northgate’s original solar panels would generate up to 75 kilowatts of electricity, which would supply enough energy for the the school’s basic needs, but may not power the entire campus.
    The district just finished installing another $6.2 million worth of solar panels at Northgate HS, exceeding its original budget by more than $250,000, according to the quarterly report.
    It went nearly $1.7 million over its original contractor budget of about $4.4 million, paying more than $6 million to contractors. However, it appears to be saving money in “special consultants” and in-house payroll.
    I don’t see any explanation of “special consultants” in the report.

  • Theresa Harrington

    The Quarterly Report contradicts what Pedersen told the Bond Oversight Committee on Sept. 22 regarding solar at Glenbrook and Holbrook.
    Pedersen initially said he intended to move forward with solar at the two sites because it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and it was included in the original board-approved plan.
    He said he personally decided to go forward with solar on the sites and that he would proceed accordingly, unless the superintendent or board directed him not to do it.
    Yet, the Quarterly Report states for both sites: “Sun Power, Inc. of Richmond was awarded a Design/Build contact (sic) in October 2010. Design at this site was halted pending final determination of use. Per direction, design process reinstated in May and site scheduling moved to Increment 3.”
    It is unclear who gave the direction.
    As I have already pointed out, the June minutes state that the projects were on hold. At that time, Pedersen did not say anything about having received direction in May to reinstate the projects and move them to increment 3.
    He also didn’t say anything Sept. 22 about having received that direction in May.

  • g

    If they go ahead with Bay Point/Pittsburg school alterations or build out before they run into having to pay some big bucks in “non-use” penalties for the 11 acres at Alves, they will not have funds for anything beyond Increment 1 (again). Putting the closed schools into Increment 3 pretty much safely puts them on the back burner until the next Bond they hope to go for in 2014-15.

    As for “special consultant” costs; What immediately came to my mind was Brad Hunter-our local green energy candy man. Just a guess though.

    Which reminds me of Hunter talking on his blog a few months ago about how much work it was to try to keep the solar panels at Northgate clean so they would be efficient.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Increment 3 solar projects start next month and the district has already issued the CREBs to pay for them. If they don’t go forward with the solar projects on the closed sites, they may have to give back the CREBs for those campuses.
    It is the modernization that could be put on hold until the next bond. It is already on hold. If the board opts to use its modernization money for Bay Point schools, there may not be enough left over for other schools in the district.
    As for Hunter, he is on the Measure C team, so his salary should be included in the “in-house staff” costs.
    Perhaps the original Northgate solar panels didn’t meet the projected expectations. It seems surprising that the school would need another $6 million worth of solar, on top of the approximately $4 million initially installed.

  • Alicia M

    Theresa #43 – The lease/purchase related to Northgate’s first solar project in 2007 was $3.9 million for a 15 year term. Do you know if all $3.9 million was used for the Northgate solar project in 2007? Pete stated on 9/22 that the original Northgate solar project was incorporated in with the Sunpower project. If the 2007 solar project cost $3.9 million, then 2010 Measure C has just spent almost $10 million for solar on Northgate. I really hope this isn’t the case.

    In looking at the Board resolution, it indicates the lease would be paid with savings, rebates, deferred maintenance and state matching funds. Also, the lease had much better financing terms and now we will pay much more since the 2010 Measure C’s capital appreciation bonds were used to pay this lease off.

    It makes me wonder what happened with the PG&E rebates associated with the 2007 solar project.

  • Alicia M

    Northgate’s 2007 project would have been a good proto-type to ascertain whether solar met expectations. It would be interesting to compare the estimated expections to actuals. Further, it would be interesting if Johnston Controls has ever paid on the guarantee, and I wonder how much the guarantee cost. When the district was justifying the new solar project, has anyone every heard the district use Northgate’s solar project as an example?

  • Number Eight

    G #45,
    They should budget these millions carefully. The board should watch every penny. They should expect vehement opposition to another bond. I’m just sayin

  • g

    Northgate solar. It’s easy to check the utilities costs on recent warrants, but they aren’t published for back in ’07.

    I don’t know how to read the graph because it doesn’t say what the three bars represent on the “detail/yearly” tabs, and it only updates every few months, but maybe someone else can explain. It seems like the irradance bar should have been higher earlier this month, but is very low.
    The site to check is at: http://view2.fatspaniel.net/PV2Web/merge?&view=PV/standard/Simple&eid=231728