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School District Set to Hire Financial Advisor for November Tax Bond

The Alameda Unified School District Board is moving forward with a tax bond measure for November. (File Photo)

The Alameda Unified School District Board is moving forward with a tax bond measure for November. (File Photo)

The Alameda Unified School District is set to hire Backstrom McCarley Berry & Company of San Francisco as a financial advisor for a facilities tax bond measure planned for the ballot this fall. The school district Board of Trustees is expected to approve the contract on Tuesday.

In 2004, when Measure C, a similar school bond measure was passed, the district hired California Financial Services, a firm that then went on, along with each of two Wall Street bond underwriting firms, to contribute $25,000 to the pro-tax bond campaign committee.

After the the measure passed, and the bonds were issued, California Financial Services collected $680,000 in fees from the bond proceeds.

The fee schedule for Backstrom McCarley Berry & Company’s contract indicates the firm will be paid $60,000 for each initial series of bonds issued, $45,000 for each subsequent series, and $45,000 for any re-funding bonds that may be required.

And the school district may need to restructure existing debt from 2004.

A separate presentation on Tuesday, from AUSD Chief Business Officer Robert Clark shows that essentially none of the principal from the $63 million borrowing approved by voters in 2004 has been paid down; in the past 10 years, only interest payments have been made.

The structure of those bonds turned a $63 million issue into a $176 million combined interest and principal obligation that stretches out for decades, with total annual debt service topping $16 million in 2028.

Dr. Clark estimates that, when taking into account the $63 million existing debt principal, the district’s adjusted bonding capacity is $188 million.

The district anticipates meeting with the newly hired financial advisor at the end of April to take all factors into consideration and arrive at a final bond amount for the tax measure.

So far, the district has not hired a campaign consultant to help secure voter approval for the measure.

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