California League of Bond Oversight Committees



California Places Alum Rock Schools on Tighter Fiscal Leash

June 29, 2017 | By Sharon Noguchi | 
EXCERPT:  ...The California Department of Education late Wednesday revoked the district's fiscal independence - in itself an unusual status among California school districts - and granted greater oversight by the Santa Clara County Office of Education. ... 
     On Wednesday, Tran and Assistant Superintendent Rene Sanchez emailed Torlakson asking that the request be denied. They insisted that the district is following the law and improving its accounting - contrary to concerns raised earlier this month by a critical state audit.
    The letter also stated that the district has hired the law firm Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost and construction consultants WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff to help respond to the audit.
     In fact, the district's five-member board has not approved contracts with either firm, its lawyer, Luis Saenz said Wednesday. ...
     "We rarely see anybody fighting back on a FCMAT report. They're highly respected, independent, and they don't have any axes to grind," said Ron Bennett, CEO of School Services of California, which advises about 850 of California's roughly 1,000 school districts. ...

     FCMAT audits of school districts are rare - fewer than 40 have been done in the 12 years since they've been authorized by the Legislature. Bennett said he can't remember an instance when a state schools superintendent has refused a recommendation to revoke a district's financial independence....
     The audit by FCMAT, as it's known, warned that Alum Rock may be vulnerable to fraud, mismanagement and misspending, and cited millions of dollars paid to its bond construction manager, Del Terra Real Estate, with scant documentation. In 3½ years through last spring, Alum Rock had paid Del Terra $3.25 million for construction management.
     Despite passing three bond measures totaling $444 million over nine years, all with the promise to fix basic infrastructure, several Alum Rock schools will start next school year lacking heating, cooling, secure roofs or functioning bathrooms.
     In seeking broader authority over Alum Rock, Gundry cited its refusal to respond to requests for timely finance reports, lack of internal controls, lack of an auditor and failure to track bond expenditures. ... 
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Sweetwater UHSD Awarded
$8.2 Million in Settlement

Feb. 17, 2017 | Jessica Caimi | 

EXCERPT:   The Sweetwater Union High School District in Chula Vista, California, is putting the past behind it after receiving $8.2 million as part of a pay-to-play legal settlement involving two construction companies. Gilbane Building Company and SGI Construction Management, two Northern California-based construction companies, will pay Sweetwater for their alleged involvement in the scandal. In exchange, the school district will drop its pending lawsuits against them. ...
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The California League of Bond Oversight Committees (CaLBOC) is an all volunteer, non-partisan association of Citizen Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) members, current and past, who are interested in helping other CBOC members. CaLBOC was formed in 2006 by CBOC members trying to find better training to help perform their duties. CaLBOC is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

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