Bonds are mutual beneficial partnerships
On Nov. 6, 2016, Pendergast district voters successfully passed a bond election for $59.9 million. The election passed because our community believes in us, and for that, we’re grateful beyond measure.
As stewards of our taxpayers’ money, it is critical to ensure we are being transparent and accountable for these funds and their expenditure. Many of our district buildings are aging and must be upgraded for health and safety standards to be met as well as to ensure high-quality teaching and learning environments.
Our team conducted a rigorous needs assessment to determine what were the priorities of the district and to take in consideration the impact of the loss of more than $15 million over the past six years in capital revenue due to state budget reductions. The reality is the state budget has been significantly reduced so that districts are not receiving the funds for improvements they used to, so school districts, such as Pendergast, must go to the voters to ask for their support.
A district bond works much like a home loan or corporate bond. The basic purpose is to allow the borrower to spend money right away and then pay it back over time. Bonds are usually used to fund capital improvement projects, or “brick and mortar.”
Before a bond is submitted to our voters for approval, a committee consisting of Pendergast staff and community leaders conducts a needs assessment and seeks input on proposed projects prior to making a recommendation to the governing board.
At the Feb. 23 Pendergast Governing Board meeting, Joanne Fimbres, our chief financial officer, and her operations team gave a presentation detailing the accountability on how the bond dollars have been spent thus far.
Ms. Fimbres presented in great detail about the expenditures and improvements, including the following:
• New roofing projects at all 12 schools and district office buildings.
• Interior and exterior painting of facilities and flooring.
• Water fountain upgrades to meet new standards.
• Restroom remodels.
• Lighting, HVAC work and replacements, energy management controls and duct work replacement.
• Fire alarms, security cameras, districtwide radios and intercom systems, playground improvements, landscape improvements, parking lot resurfacing and fencing.
• New classroom construction, administrative, lobby and security office remodels.
• Bus replacement and maintenance vehicles.
• Districtwide technology including laptops, Chromebooks and data center upgrades.
• Furniture and equipment and district copiers.
Pendergast district prides itself in financial transparency and accountability and is grateful for your support. We are continuing to assess our future needs to further the work that has been started. We will ensure our facilities meet health and safety standards and our students have the tools they need to be successful in their future endeavors.
Our mission, “Empowering Excellence and Success,” is directly tied to each of our students, staff, families and the communities we serve. It is our fervent hope to show our stakeholders that their investment in the district is a mutually beneficial partnership that improves not only our facilities but also the communities we serve.
Dr. Jennifer Cruz