Nov 13 2018

Call for more community input – 

     Superintendent Randy Booker will present the idea of a School Resource Officer to the School Board at their meeting this Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 7:00 p.m., City Hall.  I would like to hear more community engagement on this topic. I think it would be good to make sure that the members of our community are aware of the various security measures being proposed — including perimeter fencing around the middle school and high school, and new surveillance cameras around town.
    The current focus on security measures is troubling to me, reminding me of a culture of fear that has developed at a national level. I sent this letter to the School Board prior to their last meeting. Please feel free to reprint.
    Thank you,
     Elizabeth Shook
~~~~~~~~~
To Superintendent Randy Booker and the PUSD School Board: 
     My husband and I are strongly against perimeter fencing and a school safety officer at Piedmont Middle School or Piedmont High School.
     With the recent threat incident at PMS, we understand that emotions are running high. However, perimeter fencing and a school safety officer would have made NO DIFFERENCE in this recent threat.
     We agree that the safety of our students is our primary concern. We believe this is a mental health issue, not a criminal issue.
     Adding a school safety officer at either PMS or PHS is a major over-reaction. The presence of police on campus has not been shown to limit or protect from past school shootings. At our secondary schools, we already have the Piedmont police department located within two blocks. Our school is located in a quiet, safe suburban neighborhood. An officer on campus would actually heighten student anxiety and tension.
     If we have the budget, we should spend the funds on additional counseling staff who can work with students with unfortunate family, social, or mental health situations. This will do more to deter future tragedy than a school safety officer.
     We call on the Superintendent and the School Board to let emotions settle, and then survey the community on this issue. Where could the money be better spent? What do the students want? What about teachers?
     We believe that our families need: 1) Clear and transparent communication from the administration about school threats – and school policies. 2) Students and families need to be taught the best response to dangerous scenarios. 3) Zero tolerance for students who make threats or bring weapons to school.
      Here are some articles about School Safety Officers that make good points:
      Putting more cops in schools won’t make schools safer, and it will …
       New York Set to Revise Role of School Safety Agents
      I am also against perimeter fencing. I feel it can actually trap students in a dangerous situation and impede evacuations.  In reality, fencing will not deter actual bad guys.
        PHS Students considered the fencing when it was first proposed in this 2016 editorial:
“Fencing the campus entirely would cost an estimated $300,000 — far more than any college education — even before implementing monitoring systems that could actually keep dangerous individuals off the property.
       “Frankly, a fence alone will not be effective in deterring an active shooter, the fear of which has been a key motivation behind the push for revamping the district’s safety measures. In the wake of tragedies like Sandy Hook, this desire to proactively increase safety is understandable, but the decision to build a fence would be reactive and incomplete. Instead of actually improving our safety, we would be cultivating the mere illusion of security, a incremental measure not worth the significant cost.”
      Thank you for your consideration.
       Regards,
       Elizabeth Shook and Denis Fung, Piedmont Residents and Piedmont School District Parents
Nov 12 2018

Potential agreement between the City Council and the School Board –

An introductory discussion of adding a police resource officer into the Piedmont Unified School District will be considered on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 during the 7:oo p.m. Board of Education meeting held in City Hall.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and via the City website.

To view the report go to item VII and click on the Superintendent’s report > https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=67947&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

Nov 12 2018

2017-18 City Revenue exceeded annual budget by $3.5 million.

The Piedmont Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee met on November 7, 2018 to consider Piedmont financial matters and consider recommendations to the City Council.

Handouts were provided to the Committee at their meeting.

The following is an abbreviated Power Point Presentation prepared by the Director of Finance and provided on November 7, 2018, to the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee.  The presentation is printed below for readers interested in Piedmont’s financial condition in a limited form allowed on the PCA website.  Charts are excluded.  To view the original document inquire with the Piedmont City Clerk at 510/420-3040.

2017-18 Fiscal Year Report Actual vs. Budget

FY 2017-18 Highlights

•Revenue exceeded annual budget by $3.5 million

Major variances include:

• Transfer tax exceeded annual budget by $1.0 million.

  • Home sales up 4% over last year (132 vs 127)
  • Average Sales Price increased 7% to $2.3 million

• Property taxes exceeded annual budget by $0.8 million:

  • Secured property tax +$484 K
  • Supplemental property tax +$294 K

• Mutual Aid \ Strike Team revenue was $0.5 million as we participated in battling seasons severe wildfires.

• Recreation revenue up $0.2 million due to increased contract program offerings

Transfer Tax – Recent History

Property Tax – History / FY 18-19 Budget

Note: In the Ten Year Plan, we use the 10 year average growth rate of 4.4%

FY 2017-18 Highlights

Major variances include (continued):

• The following categories also contributed to the revenue gain:

  • Business Licenses + $138 K
  • Building Permits + $132 K
  • Motor Vehicle License Fee + $129 K
  • Interest
  • Ambulance Fees
  • Utility Users Tax
  • Community and Veterans

Hall Rental + $ 50 K

+ $ 90 K + $ 71 K + $ 61 K

•Overall, expenditures were under budget by ~$16,000

• All operating departments were under budget with the exception of Fire.

The drivers of the overage in fire were:

• Higher overtime costs, offset by lower regular salaries and retirement costs, which resulted in a budget overage of $235 K.

• This overage is more than offset by the $480 K received for our assistance in battling state’s wildfire’s.

• Premiums for workers compensation and liability insurance were $152 higher than budget.

•In summary, General Fund operating net revenue (revenue less expenses) exceeded budget by $3.5 million.

Update on CalPERS Pension

Components of our pension cost

• Our pension costs consist of the following:

• Normal cost = the present value of the future benefits to be received that is “earned” in the current year of service.

• Actuary’s calculate this based on a series of assumptions, including:

• Demographic: Years of service, salary at time of retirement, retirement ag age of death

• Financial: CalPERS portfolio earnings (discount rate)
• Expressed as a % of payroll and paid in monthly installments.

• Unfunded Actuarial Liability (UAL) = Excess of actuarial accrued liability over value of the pension fund assets.

• Caused by lower than expected investment returns, changes in demogra other assumption changes (lowering assumed discount rate).

  • Amortized over 20-30 years.
  • Expressed as a $ amount and paid annually.

Employees eligible for retirement:
Safety Tier 1 – 11 eligible, 2 retiring in 2018-19 Misc Tier 1 – 7 eligible, 2 retiring in 2018-19

Payoff of Unfunded Liability is included in our long range plan.

City of Piedmont Pension Tiers – Statistics

Funded CalPERS

City of Piedmont UAL Layers – Safety Tier

• Purpose of the slide is to show what comprises the UAL (Unfunded Accrued Liability), and what affects each year.

• Note – The payoff of the UAL is included in our long term plan.

What is Happening at CalPERS?

• CalPERS’ Portfolio – Annual Earnings is Forecast for next 20 yrs = of 6.6%

• Anticipating Negative Cash Flow for another 9-10 years (due to increasing number of retiree’s).

• Began cutting discount rate. First year affected is 2018-19.

• Policy regarding Amortization on Unfunded Liability to change in 2021.

CalPERS – Recent Changes Change in discount rate from 7.50%:

Rate • 6/30/16 valuation
• 6/30/17 valuation
• 6/30/18 valuation

Initial Full 7.375% 18/19 7.25% 19/20 22/23 23/24 24/25 7.00% 20/21

Risk Mitigation Strategy
• Move to more conservative investments over time • Lower discount rate in concert
• Likely get to 6.0% over 20+ years per Bartel.

Amortization Changes

• Beginning with UAL layers established on or after June 30, 2019 (which affects payments beginning in FY 2021-22) the following changes will be made:

• Amortization of Investment Gain\Loss and Demographic changes will b shortened from 30 to 20 years.

• Eliminate all “Ramp Up and Ramp Down” except for the ramp up on Investment Gain\Loss. This will reduce the amount of “negative amort which will lower interest paid.

• Good news is total interest paid will decrease, but payments wi————-

How will these changes affect the City ?

• Last year, engaged Bartel and Associates to estimate these future co

• Projections assumed discount rate will decline from 7.375% in 2018-19 to 7. 2020-21 per CalPERS policy. And a further decrease to 6.0% over the next 20

• Will need to refresh Bartel’s assumptions to include recent amortization changes.

• ROI for FY ending 6/30/17 was 11.2 %

• However our Unfunded liability increased slightly due primarily to the chang discount rate.

• FY ending 6/30/18 ROI was 8.4 %

• Both our Normal cost and our UAL payments will increase significant steadily over the next 15 years

Effect on General Fund

• The City began addressing the issue earlier this year:

• In May we opened a Section 115 Irrevocable Trust account with the Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) with a contribution of $2.0 million.

• Projections indicate total expenditures (which includes planned capital transfer exceed revenues in 2023 through 2030. In these years the City may draw from PARS account to ensure a balanced budget.

• In order to not allow the General Fund reserve to drop below 18% of expenditures will need an additional $0.75 million contribution this year, as noted at our previous meeting.

Review of Proposed 2017-18 Year End General Fund Transfers

Year End General Fund Transfers • Recap of variance to budget (000’s):

Year End General Fund Transfers

• We recommend allocation as follows:

• $2.5 million to the Facilities Maintenance Fund.
• $0.75 million to the Pension Rate stabilization fund (PARS)

Equipment Replacement Fund

• At June 30, 2018, the Equipment Replacement fund balance was —- million.

• Based on a review of estimated equipment needs for the next 1 years, and planned annual transfers into the fund, no additional funding is currently needed.

Status of Trust Funds – OPEB and Legacy Police & Fire Pension Fund

• Police & Fire Fund
• Twelve remaining beneficiaries (5 primary, 7 survivor). • Annual benefit payments currently ~$225,000.
As of 6/30/18, the plan is OVER funded by ~10.5 million

• OPEB Fund

• Currently OPEB is UNDER funded by ~$13.7 million…however,

• Retiree benefits has been reduced to the PEMCHA minimum for all hirees May 1, 2018.

• Will realize a significant cash savings when these employees retire. Cur the average annual cost for a retiree is ~$10,000 compared to ~$1,600 the PEMCHA minimum.

Status of Trust Funds – OPEB and Legacy Police & Fire Pension Fund

• Due to the small number of retiree’s remaining in the Police and fund, coupled with the changes made to the OPEB fund:

• We are projecting the overage in the Police & Fire fund will grow and o the under funded OPEB trust in approximately 12 years. Around 2030.

Increased funding of OPEB is not recommended at this time. Employee contribute an estimated $100,000 to the fund through payroll deduction FY 2018-19.

Facilities Maintenance Fund

• The maintenance and improvement of city facilities has necessarily been a high priority for the City Council

• Staff completed a review of all City facilities in March of this year report detailed the following through FY 2021-22:

• Annual Operations: Annual recurring expenses required to maintain City facilities, including regular such as janitorial, alarm, pest control, heating systems, fire safety, and annual inspections.

• Annual Maintenance & Repairs: Cost of maintaining, repairing, or replacing various miscellaneous it of the City’s facilities that are malfunctioning, broken, or otherwise have reached their serviceable life.

• Consultant Services: Professional consulting services involving investigation, analysis, and recommendation which form the basis of the project’s next steps. Also included in this category are expenses related t project management services on an as-needed basis since the breath of the projects exceeds Staff capabilities.

• Deferred Maintenance Projects: Planned and prioritized major construction projects of a specific na undertaken to replace, achieve compliance, and/or modernize existing facilities that have been prev deferred.

(a) Assumes the $800,000 bequest from the estate of Anne Kroeger received in FY 2015-16 will be used for Recreation Center upgrades.

Assume 3% annual growth after FY 22-23

Cash Flow Forecast and Investment Results

Cash Flow Forecast

• Prepared a four year cash flow forecast to determine if we invest idle cash.

• Cash flow is very choppy.

• Heavily dependent on property tax receipts

• Flow will allow us to invest approximately $6 – $7 million longer term (up to three years) fixed income securities

Multi-Bank Securities

•Opened account with Multi-Bank Securities •Specializes in fixed income securities •Dedicated account representative
•Easy to use investment platform

• Platform has the ability to assure CD’s purchased do not exceed the maximum insurable by the FDIC ($250,000 pe institution)

Investment Strategy

• In the past, the City invested all Idle cash in LAIF (Local Agency Investment Fund).

• Began investing idle cash with MBS Securities in April.

• In process of building three year CD ladder

• CD’s are currently the best yielding fixed income security allowable under our investment policy, and its fully insured.

Investment Strategy
• Portfolio @ 10/31/18 (000’s):

• Current LAIF Yield is 2.16%. • Was 1.35% back in January

• CD ladder will increase interest earned (as compared to LAIF) in FY 2018-19 by approximately $35,000

Transfer Tax Update Year to Date – October 31

Transfer Tax Update

YTD receipts fairly consistent with past 4 years

  • Average seasonality indicates annual transfer tax to be in the $3.0 – $3.2 million range

Transfer Tax Update

• Receipt pattern tends to be choppy the first six months, but fairly consistent the remainder of the year

• Average seasonality indicates annual transfer tax to be in the $3.0 – $3.2 million range

Questions ? Contact City Clerk at 510/420-3040. 

Handout_GF_Pension_LTP

 

Nov 5 2018

Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee Wednesday, November 7, 2018

6:00 p.m.

Emergency Operations Center, 403 Highland Avenue Piedmont, CA

This meeting will not be broadcast or recorded. The public is welcome to attend this public meeting.

There will be an opportunity for members of the audience to speak on an item not on the agenda. The 10 minute period will be divided evenly between those wishing to address the Committee.

  1. Review of FY 2017-18 General Fund Revenue and Expenditures: Actual vs Budget
  2. Update on CalPERS Pension Liability
  3. Review of Long Term Pension and General Fund Projections
  4. Review of Proposed FY 2017-18 Year End General Fund Transfers and Consideration of a Recommendation to the City Council
  5. Review of Cash Flow Forecast and Investment Results (Non-Trust Funds)

Announcements, old business and consideration of future agenda items

Adjourn –

“The materials for the meeting will be provided to the members of the committee and the public at the meeting.” City of Piedmont

NOTICE: Materials used for the meeting: Actual vs. Budget, CalPERS pension liability, Cash Flow, Investments, etc. will not be distributed to the Committee members until they are present at the meeting.  Meeting attendees can receive the information at the meeting. No distribution of agenda materials will be made until the time of the meeting. 

Materials related to an item on this agenda submitted to the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee are available for public inspection in the Finance Department during normal business hours.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the City Clerk at (510) 420-3040. Notification at least two business days preceding the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to this meeting. [28 CFR 35.102-35.104 ADA Title II]

Note: Members of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee are not required per City Council policy to file Conflicts of Interests Statements.

Nov 4 2018

Excellent publication by the California Association of School Board Officials (CASBO) about “What Every Board Member and Candidate Should Know” regarding School Finances in California. A must read to really understand school funding!

Randall Booker
Superintendent Piedmont Unified School District
Nov 2 2018

City of Piedmont
Joint Park Commission and
Recreation Commission 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

7:00 p.m.

City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

 Receipt of a Report on the Revised Conceptual Plan for the Linda Beach Master Plan and
Consideration of a Recommendation to the City Council on Next Steps

A summary of the distinguishing attributes of the revised plan are as follows:

  •  A California Playscape designed with landscape buffers near the Oakland Avenue Bridge and along Howard Avenue fills the now dormant south end of the park with natural adventure play for all ages
  •  Creation of a new enclosed tot lot (~4000 sq. ft.) for children age 3 and younger at the north end of the park within the existing tot lot footprint with a new restroom building to serve the tot lot, flex space and tennis courts
  •  A Sport Court Flex Space that can serve as multipurpose outdoor recreation program space for all ages (e.g. weekday adult/senior programs such as tai chi, outdoor fitness and painting; afterschool enrichment activities such as jump rope, martial arts, arts and crafts; outdoor and overflow space for Schoolmates)
  •  An artificial turf bocce ball court that makes efficient use of space required for ADA access grading
  •  Multiple picnic areas suitable for small family gatherings
  •  New modern restrooms and storage for community youth sports organizations at the south end
  •  Significant landscape buffers at the south end of the park
  •  Two ADA entrances from Linda Avenue and stair access from the north end of the pedestrian path near Beach School to the tot lot and stair access from the tennis courts to the sports field
  •  Retention of the notable trees on site including the Melaleucas along Linda Avenue and the mature redwoods below the play field
  •  Two tennis courts with north-south orientation and slightly larger offsets than existing courts
  •  The use of permeable surfaces for hardscape areas and paths to create options for green infrastructure allowing for appropriate storm water treatment options to be integrated into the landscape
  •  Phasing approach that allows for the long neglected south end of the park to be constructed first
  •  Allows for a third phase of the project which would add a multi-purpose recreation building to the northwest corner of the park expanding indoor recreation programming opportunities for Piedmonters of all ages (bridge, mahjong, book club, yoga, art, lego, knitting, carpentry, ballet etc.)
  •  Phase three building also creates an indoor/outdoor interface that will accommodate robust and complete full day summer camp offerings as well as after school enrichment activities and small evening and weekend gatherings
  •  Fencing plan allows for controlling park use after hours

READ the prior meeting draft minutes, full staff report, and schematic plan Joint Park and Recreation Commission Meeting 11.7.18 Packet

Nov 2 2018

As a retired CPA, I applied my auditing experience to the Piedmont School Board for this election.   About two years ago, I sensed that something was amiss when I read reports that PUSD refinanced some bonds to a type (called CAB) that roughly quadrupled the bond’s interest expense.  So, using KCOM’s online video archives I studied the applicable archives.  I know the justifications that many board members used for this school financing.   But I find their decision outlandish.  Ultimately, the School Board reversed its error and switched back to CIB financing, which saved the district from incurring an additional $26 million dollars in wasteful interest expense.  As the public archives confirm, Dr. Titan’s leadership led to this $26 million savings.

If you’ve never attended a PUSD board meeting, please go to KCOM (Channel 27) and view any meeting in the archive.  You will begin to appreciate the dedication, determination, and backbone needed to accomplish what Titan has.

If you have been following the employment issues relating to the rogue teacher-student conduct, or the embarrassing decision to appoint Victor Acuna as full-time athletic director at roughly $120,000 per year.  Ask yourself, do you want a board member that has the backbone and perseverance to defend our students from such egregious personnel issues?

Prior to this election, I didn’t know Dr. Titan or any of the school board candidates, so I made a concerted effort to meet them, and study their prospective contributions.  I listened to them at two separate parents’ club candidate forums and via KCOM, I watched them speak at Piedmont’s League of Women voters’ forum.    It’s clear they are all nice people who want to make a difference for our schools.

But when you step into the election booth, set aside your friendships and vote responsibly for the one candidate that since 2013 has been working as a citizen watchdog to ensure proper conduct at PUSD.  Titan will provide the stewardship need now on Piedmont’s school board.

Dai Meagher, CPA (inactive & retired)

Oct 25 2018

Mr. Titan’s Claim That the School Board “Lost” $18.8 Million Is Baseless – 

In his October 20, 2018 Opinion posted on PCA, Mr. Titan responded to my October 17, 2018 Opinion posted on PCA. It is unfortunate that Mr. Titan continues to try to bolster his campaign by unfounded attacks on the successful Piedmont seismic bond program and by claiming credit for a bond refinancing for which he is not responsible.

Mr. Titan’s response does not support his past claims (that he saved Piedmont over $26 million) or his new claim that a past School Board “lost” $18.8 million. The District’s intent to refinance the 2013 Series E Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABs) was stated in 2013 when the Board directed their sale, so Mr. Titan did not initiate this commonsense idea (which reduced total interest payments by $26.1 million when approved in 2017). Mr. Titan’s idea that the Board “lost” $18.8 million is based on his suggestion that voters could have approved an additional bond measure to double the authorized tax rate and significantly increased their tax burden to pay off bonds more quickly. This is not “something for nothing” financial wizardry, but a legally uncertain policy proposal that would have imposed greater burdens on current taxpayers for the benefit of future taxpayers that Piedmont voters never approved.

It is worth noting that none of the current School Board candidates served on the Board from 2006 to 2013 when the seismic bond program was approved by voters and implemented by the School District. Indeed, the 2006 Measure E, authorizing the sale of $56 million in bonds to ensure the seismic safety of our schools, and the resulting school construction, occurred before some Piedmont residents moved here. Mr. Titan has chosen to attack these past School Board bond authorizations, and to claim credit for past School Board decisions, in an effort to establish his claim of financial expertise.

As an initial matter, Mr. Titan’s effort to claim credit for the refinancing of the 2013 Series E CABs remains unconvincing. (Mr. Titan makes this assertion in his October 18 campaign email). First, the Board in 2013 clearly expected to refinance the CABs in the future—Mr. Titan did not originate the idea and thus save Piedmont taxpayers $26.1 million. At the May 8, 2013 Board meeting, KNN explained the District’s ability and expectation of refunding the CABs early. http://piedmont.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=916 at 46:00-46:50. The Minutes also so state. http://www.piedmont.k12.ca.us/aboutpusd/agenda.minutes/2011_12/052213packet.pdf. Second, as discussed in my October 17, 2018 Opinion, Mr. Titan originally opposed the CAB refinancing during the Nov. 8, 2017 Board meeting. Mr. Titan helpfully pointed out that he reversed his position later in the meeting, after hearing KNN’s professional advice (My apologies for missing his change of view). However, changing his view to support KNN’s recommendation and the Board’s position does not mean Mr. Titan is responsible for the Board’s refinancing of the CABs.

Next, as I previously noted, Mr. Titan did not educate the School Board about CABs or other financial instruments, all of which were discussed in public meetings from 2006 to 2013. Mr. Titan now asserts that he educated the public about such terms as “compound interest,” etc. I suspect that most Piedmonters were aware of such terms. Mr. Titan does not mention other key terms, such as tax rate, tax impact, and taxpayer cash flow, which a School Board member must consider in assessing bond structure.

The basis for Mr. Titan’s claim that the Board “lost” $18.6 million is as follows: “My proposal was not to defer the work and financing in 2013, but to use CIBs by getting a new voter authorization.” (Titan Opinion). Mr. Titan does not explain how he calculated $18.8 million and whether he took the CAB refinancing into account. Nonetheless, an important part of a School Board member’s job is to be transparent, carefully and publicly analyze potentially feasible options, and make a prudent decision that balances many competing interests. So, let’s unpack Mr. Titan’s proposal and claim.

Mr. Titan’s idea was that the Board should have asked voters to approve a new bond measure, so that bonds under that measure would be subject to a second $60/$100,000 assessed valuation (AV) anticipated tax rate limit in addition to the $60/$100,000 AV anticipated tax rate limitation on the 2006 Measure E bonds. In other words, to repay seismic bonds, Piedmonters could have been taxed up to $120/$100K AV rather than up to $60/$100K AV. As anyone with a home mortgage knows, if you pay down debt more quickly, your total interest payments over the term of the loan go down. But you must pay more in the short term.

What would the tax impact of Mr. Titan’s proposal, if approved, have been on Piedmont taxpayers? We do not have a 2013 KNN analysis of CIB interest rates, likely term, and the tax rate necessary to make payments on such bonds. For illustrative purposes, let’s consider an additional $30/$100K AV. Added to the $60/$100K AV already assessed for outstanding seismic bonds, the total tax rate for seismic bonds would be $90/$100K AV, or $900 per year for a home assessed at $1 million (this would have been added to tax payments on older bonds). But the tax impact would vary among homeowners. Young families, which may have stretched to buy a Piedmont home and have high assessed valuations, might owe much more and have trouble paying it. Seniors might be on a fixed income and have trouble paying the tax bill.

Moreover, the new school buildings are expected to serve children for at least 50 years. While some families plan to live in Piedmont for many decades, others may stay only while their children attend school. They may be more concerned about short-term cash flow than total interest payments as they would not make many of those future interest payments. If Mr. Titan wrestled with any of these concerns, he did not explain his position.

Mr. Titan’s claim has two other defects. First, Mr. Titan has not shown whether such a bond authorization would be legal. The 2013 Series E CABs refinanced existing Bond Appreciation Notes. Proposition 39 (Article XIII-A, Section 1(b)(3) authorizes school bonds for “the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities,” but does not mention re-financing other debt. KNN did not answer this question at the May 8, 2013 meeting, but rather responded to my question about a potential theater bond measure. Nor did KNN state at the October 11, 2017 meeting that the BANs could have been refinanced by CIBs without a new bond measure.

Second, Mr. Titan’s claim rests on voter approval, which is entirely speculative. Measure E itself was narrowly approved, with campaign materials indicating the sponsors’ hope that the tax rate to repay the bonds would be no greater than $20/$100K (which contemplated the use of CABs). The recession and the opportunity to obtain near-zero interest Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs) required exceeding $20/$100K AV, which the Board approved after numerous meetings seeking public input. But tax rate and tax impact was a key consideration throughout the seismic bond program. Neither Mr. Titan nor any other citizen proposed Mr. Titan’s idea in 2013 in lieu of CABs. Mr. Titan did not volunteer, or identify anyone else, to run a 2013 campaign seeking voter approval of higher taxes to reduce total interest payments. Nor does Mr. Titan discuss the timing of such a campaign or election, followed by bond authorization and sale, and how it would have meshed with the need to repay the BANs.

In short, Mr. Titan’s claim that the Board “lost” $18.8 million rests on (a) his policy preference to pay higher taxes now to reduce total interest payments, without consideration of tax burden and cash flow impacts on PIedmont voters as a whole, and (b) speculation that Piedmont voters would have approved a second bond authorization, though its legality is uncertain, and no one in 2013 proposed it, no one ran a campaign to endorse it, and Piedmont voters never approved it.

Finally, Mr. Titan’s discussion of the Board’s consideration of CABs under Measure H misunderstands the fundamental responsibility of School Board members. The Board has a responsibility to identify potentially feasible options, allow public comment, evaluate feasible alternatives and make prudent decisions that it believes are in the best interests of the community. Mr. Titan asserts that having KNN present options that included CABs somehow means that the Board would have approved CABs but for Mr. Titan’s opposition. That was not the case, as Board members made clear in several public meetings.

I encourage Mr. Titan to present his views on critical issues facing the District today rather than misrepresenting what happened in the past.

Rick Raushenbush, Former Member Piedmont School Board

Oct 25 2018

The current election cycle for Piedmont School Board has past and current Board members publicly criticizing Board candidate Hari Titan. The critiques are both highly unusual in Piedmont and frankly unwarranted. Hari has given great service to both the School Board and residents by uncovering the unnecessarily high taxpayer burden of Capital Appreciation Bonds (“CABs”) and the high cost of the failed Allen Harvey rehabilitation as compared to other new School theaters. The careful analysis by Hari unearthed the grossly excessive CAB debt costs and saved Piedmont taxpayers literally many millions. Instead of denunciations there should be public thanks from School Board members.

Beyond the School Board Establishment questioning Hari’s financial analysis, the bottom line takeaway is that Hari will shake things up in a manner neither welcome nor comfortable by the School Board; and yet this is exactly what we need. Hari has the expertise, determination and courage to drill down information put before the School Board by Staff and Consultants. As the Piedmont School Tax is literally double to 100 times any other School Tax in the state, and more money will be asked for soon, Hari Titan is critically needed on the School Board now. On November 6, Hari Titan has my vote.

By Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident

Oct 25 2018

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