Many citizens don’t know that School Boards are a taxing authority in the various districts in which they exist. As such, a check and balance on that authority is that tax-payers must approve the overall expenditures and debt to be incurred for which they are taxed. Our current bond obligations are approximately $300Million, to which the Gilbert School Board is expected to add another $6.8Million without so much as a peep from the public. How can this happen? Why is it we don’t see a short summary of what the expenses are for, with total expenditures listed on the agenda?
The $6.8 million is to be paid to Climatec Building Technologies Group, a subsidiary of KX2 Holdings LLC, which has written a proposal for how to save the school district money via energy savings by changing out light bulbs, climate control sensors, and retooling HVAC systems at all district properties. A QSCB (Qualified School Construction Bond) is required to raise the necessary capital. The interest expense is offset via a grant from the State which comes from the Feds. The principle is paid back over 10 years from the offset savings from energy usage.
It seems to me that $6.8 million in taxpayer money shouldn’t be spent before some major questions are answered.
1. How were the savings calculations figured?
2. What guarantee does the district have that energy savings estimated will be realized? What are the terms and conditions of that guarantee?
3. How has current energy usage been determined, and how will specific energy usages be measured going forward should GPS take additional steps to mitigate energy use?
4. What is the meantime between failures on the equipment that is being changed out? What prevents us from needing to purchase all this equipment again over the course of 10 years?
5. What mechanisms are in place so that the board is updated on this subject on an annual basis, the guarantee from Climatec is enforced, the administration monitors and audits the work to be done to make sure it is completed properly, and that all the legal guidelines are followed?
The public should insist that the board take a closer look at what’s being proposed, and table the proposal for another two weeks in order for the public to have a better chance to absorb the details before approving $6.8M in new debt.
I found this here: http://gilbertschools.info/2010/11/20/40/ You can download the full agenda PDF. Look for references to CLIMATEC. This is a 194-page document. Page 43 identifies the expenditures.