Friday, July 21, 2017

Mixed messages, part 2

In my previous post, I described some information the board received in its work session last October about the legal effect of bond passage. The written information sounded somewhat different from the spoken information, so later in that same meeting, I asked a follow-up question:
Director Liebig: Just to go back to that one question. I still just want to make sure I’m explaining it right to people. What I’m hearing is, once the vote is done, people have voted for this thing, you can’t take any of that money and spend it on anything that wasn’t listed in the proposal at the beginning.

Chief financial officer Hansel: Correct.

Liebig: You could drop projects, just never bond for them.

Hansel: You don’t sell the bonds for them. Correct. You can drop projects if you don’t sell the bond.
A bit later, another exchange:
Liebig: I was also concerned about things that are just way out on the timeline, and we’re planning for them now, and [inaudible] commit to that, if five years from now we find out hey, you don’t need it.

Superintendent Murley: Well, you heard Craig say before, the University shuts down—okay, that’s probably unforeseeable, but if it does and suddenly all of a sudden the changes occur, yeah, we don’t have to move forward with that. So, from that standpoint, those projects are laid out; you can do those, you don’t have to do those.
(Full recording here.) Those answers sounded different from the written statement we received the same night that “ALL of the projects included on the ballot MUST be completed.” Now it sounded like the district was free to drop projects, as long as it did so before issuing the actual bonds (which can be years after the bond vote), though it might depend on a showing of unforeseeable circumstances. I left the meeting with the impression that that was the district’s position on the legal question.

Continued in part 3.

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