A different perspective on the current state of Jeffco schools

Month: October 2018

The 5B Bond numbers just don’t add up

The ability for the District to perform $705M in projects over the course of 6 years with a $567M bond ask seems predicated on a total of $138M in capital transfers over that period.

In an interview with Jeffco Public Education Network posted on June 21 members of the District’s Capital Asset Advisory Committee are quoted as saying that only $17M is allocated annually for facilities maintenance.

That leaves the question of where the additional $36M needed to fund $705M in projects will be coming from?

Are we being told the whole story?

Why is $15M in 5B Bond Expenditures not documented?

The District has very carefully shown that $705M will be funded for capital improvements, and in very broad categories, shown that $705M will be expended on page 2 of the Flip Book.

The District has also very carefully shown the costs of the new and replacement buildings and the improvements at each school.

However, when looking at the details, $15M in expenditures is missing.

Approximately $415M in detailed school projects (as outlined in the Flip Book), $66M in new construction, $64.5 in replacement schools, $56M to Charters and $86M in Contingency gives a total of approximately $690M.

Where’s the other $15M?? That’s over 2% of the total program and it is not a rounding error.

One could say that it was an innocent mistake. Or, one could also say that $15M in expenditures and projects was purposely left out of the Flip Book to prevent questions being raised about those projects.

In 2016, numerous questions were raised regarding the use of funding for renovating stadiums and transportation centers as significant funding was allocated to projects in these facilities. Obviously, those needs still exist, but they don’t appear in any discussions or literature put out by the District or Glass this year.

Does the District have plans to use the “missing” $15M for projects at other locations and subsequently conveniently “forgotten” to mention those projects or put them in the Flip Book to avoid having to answer questions about them?

Is that being honest with the taxpayers? Is that being transparent?

If this is indeed true, it is certainly not being transparent.

I would even go as far as classifying it as intentional deception on the part of Glass and the District and I don’t think deception should be rewarded.

Do You Buy Lightbulbs With a 20 Year Bond?

One of the highly touted 5B District projects is to replace lighting in all schools with LED lights. However, the District has not said what the cost of this project is, merely lumping it into project costs at schools. The District has said that this project will provide annual savings of approximately $10M. Since normal expected payback for lighting projects similar to this is around 3 years, this would mean that the cost of installing this lighting would be in the range of $25-$30M, or 5% of the Bond ask. Is that calculation close?

What we don’t know is the life expectancy of these bulbs. While LED bulbs have a long lifetime, will they last the length of the 20 year payback period of the Bond, or will the District be paying the costs of multiple sets of bulbs toward the end of the payback period? 

We don’t know the answers to these questions as Jason Glass and the District won’t answer them and most likely the bulbs will last far less than 20 years. (Unanswered JeffcoGenerations Facebook question)  

One would think however, that if the project is financially sound, the District would be quick to highlight how they will be saving money that can be put directly into teacher salaries, books and more teachers. When you don’t hear those things, when there is complete silence on the complete costs and benefits of this project, taxpayers can only wonder whether the project is financially sound over the long term and what the real costs are.

Once again, Jason Glass and the District strike a blow to the “transparency” they so often claim to be one of their core principles.