Del Mar school district may place general obligation bond on November ballot


By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Union School District is considering putting a general obligation bond on the November ballot.

The board held a workshop on April 19 at Ocean Air School to hear a presentation from the Dolinka Group on the necessary steps in the GO bond process.

Preliminary financing analysis showed a bond worth an estimated $59 million over 16 years, with $16 million being available in 2013. The cost of the bond is limited to a maximum of $30 annually per $100,000 of assessed property value.

“We want to make sure taxpayers pay as little as possible and get as much as they possibly can,” said Benjamin Dolinka, president of the Dolinka Group.

The district’s project list must be specified in the bond measure and it requires 55 percent approval from the voters.

At its April 25 meeting, the board will vote on authorizing a district-wide feasibility study on the potential GO bond and the district could move forward on a tight timeline leading to the election.

The feasibility survey would be out in May and the results presented by the May 23 board meeting. A project list for the bond would be completed by June and the board could call for the bond election on July 25.

The deadline to submit paperwork to the county registrar of voters would be Aug. 10.

The Dolinka Group would help the district every step of the process: Identify long-range district needs; evaluate other funding sources; prepare financial analyses assists in campaigning; and working closely with the underwriter to ensure the bond structure reflects the district’s financial and facilities goals.

Neighboring San Dieguito Union High School District is also considering a GO bond this year for over $400 million for school renovation, technology upgrades and new construction.

DMUSD board member Doug Rafner asked what the effect might be to have a high school district bond on the same ballot as the Del Mar school district bond.

Dolinka pointed to 2008 in Victorville when they did a bond for the Victorville elementary school district and the high school district. There was also an additional bond on the ballot for the community college — all total almost $1 billion.

“Everyone said there was no way it [the elementary school district bond] was going to get passed and they all passed,” Dolinka said.

Dolinka said every community is unique — saying, for example, that there are some communities who never vote favorably on bonds for sports complexes and others who always vote favorably.

“That’s why it’s so important to do public opinion polls,” Dolinka said.

Board member Comischell Rodriguez said she is confident in the community and that initial feedback has been positive.

“Our community values education,” Rodriguez said. “It goes hand in hand with our property values.”