Oct 25 2018

Opinion: Financial Skills Support Amal Smith for School Board

In addition to her 18 years of volunteer service to our District, and her commitment to serving all of our students, stakeholder engagement, and balancing academic rigor and wellness, Amal is the only candidate with relevant financial skills. In her 18-year tenure at the University of California, she has been responsible for financial management, reporting, and operations. In her current role as Associate Dean for Financial Affairs at the UCSF School of Medicine, she leads a team responsible for budgeting, reporting, and planning for a $2+ Billion enterprise. She understands state funding for education, accounting reporting requirements, compliance and controls issues, and the realities of balancing competing needs with limited resources.

In 2017, the opportunity to refund the Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABs) was presented to the board by the District’s financial advisors, KNN, and not at the urging or advice of anyone in this community. Amal, along with the rest of the board, voted to refund these bonds prior to January 1, 2018, saving taxpayers $26.1 million. Amal and the board chose to act because advice from KNN indicated that there was pending national legislation that would remove the District’s ability to refund the CABs (which did, in fact, pass) and that the likelihood of rising interest rates would impact potential savings.

We support Amal because of her strong financial skills, as well as her practical wisdom and reasoned approach to all issues that are brought before the board. Please join us in voting to re-elect Amal to our school board. She’s already demonstrated that she has what it takes to serve our community.

By Dana & Mike Serleth, Piedmont Residents

One Response to “Opinion: Financial Skills Support Amal Smith for School Board”

  1. The school board decided to not make the clear decision to go for a CAB to CIB refinance but instead asked the public if they wanted a CAB to CAB refinance or a CAB to CIB refinance.

    This is because a certain group of school board members feel either approach is financially sound.

    Over 90% of those letters received were in favor of a CAB to CIB refinance. Most of the letters came from my supporters who read my articles and received my alert email to respond to the board. I have also done a public survey with over 50 responses now, almost all against CABs. I’ve sent those results to the board as well.

    School Board member Amal Smith deferred her decision on how to refinance the CAB … . She voted for a CAB to CIB refinance because of these letters, not because she has a pay-as-you-go financial perspective.

    After this refinance I asked for CABs to be banned by the school board and got an email from Smith that said CABs will always be on the table.

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