Prop 4 budget tight, but Lindbergh should ‘make it,’ official tells board

By Robert Chalupny

Preliminary cost estimates for the Lindbergh School District’s Proposition 4 bond issue total roughly $45,000 less than the projected budget of $14,430,000, according to Pat Lanane, assistant superintendent of business services.

During a workshop session last week, Lanane told the Board of Education that it’s a tight budget, but he believes the work can be done for that amount.

“That’s kind of where we are with things. It’s kind of good news, bad news. The good news is it’s brought in within budget, but it is brought in with a shoehorn,” Lanane said. “I guess what I’m saying to you, it looks very close to me in terms of where we will be. If I were forced to give you an answer or die, I’d say I think we’re going to make it.”

District voters last spring approved Proposition 4, a $14.1 million bond issue designed to address safety issues at all of the district’s schools. Approval of the measure increase the district’s tax rate by 10 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

A four-sevenths majority — 57.14 percent — was required for approval of the measure, which received 4,908 “yes” votes — 57.67 percent — and 3,603 “no” votes — 42.33 percent. Of the district’s 34,461 registered voters, 8,575 — 24.88 — cast ballots in the April 8 election.

Lanane told board members Oct. 16 that preliminary cost estimates for the districtwide improvement projects totaled $14,384,496, $45,504 less than the budgeted amount of $14,430,000. Besides the $14.1 million bond issue revenue, the $14,430,00 includes $330,000 in interest revenue from the bond issue.

The $14.4 million budget breaks down as follows: High School projects; $7,025,895, projects at all other district buildings; $2,847,218, projects managed by the district; $666,138, design costs; $1,031,500, construction management costs; $1,309,768, and construction contingency; $1,503,977.

Given the tight budget, Lanane ex-plained three avenues exist to make up a possible funding shortfall.

“There is the first pot of money … You really have three places to go for this. Within the budget that’s already given to you there is a bidding contingency of $424,000. So, should we be off, that would cover the difference that we have now, but, again. that’s a very close budget to me. I mean it’s too close,” Lanane said.

“Another bucket of money that will have to be spent on the project is the interest income and I’ve done a rather conservative estimate to what that will be,” Lanane said. “Obviously this is much less than we saw in some of the other projects due to interest rates … but even conservatively speaking, there is about $330,000 that will be coming to this project from interest.

“If we don’t have to allocate that now,” Lanane said. “That money would … be added to the contingency in the budget total, which is about $1.490 million.

“However the $424,000 is in that figure. So you got about a million dollar contingency, but that’s building contingencies for when the change orders that everybody doesn’t want to hear about come in, and they will, we all know that.

“It will absolutely happen and that’s an OK contingency, but again it’s not overly generous. It’s doable, but I don’t think you can count on a lot of that money to be available,” Lanane continued.

The third option, he said, is using revenue from the district’s reserves.

“And then the third pot of money that’s out there … is district reserves,” Lanane said. “One of the things you can do to help yourself on that we could pass what has been the voluntarily voted levy rollback this past year.

“We’ll be looking at that other half and then there is going to be about 6 cents still available to get us to $2.75 cents (the legal limited amount of tax revenue the district is allowed to collect),” Lanane said.

“We will have that available now. So you could move ahead with three cents, put it in a year earlier from that last six cents you’ll be taking two years from now and you would have an additional $300,000 to spend on this project if you want to do that. Or you could simply allocate it from the current reserves, which by the end of the year will be somewhere around $20 million,” he said.

Some projects already have been completed on the high school campus, such as the welcome/security center and some of the parking lot renovations.

Facilities Director Karl Geyer said those projects came in on budget and on time. The projects were budgeted at $630,000 and cost roughly $557,000 to complete.

One of the components that originally was proposed for the project is a movable floor for a new 25-meter-by-25-yard pool.

The movable floor is a hydraulic mechanism that raises and lowers the depth level of the pool by adjusting the floor depth.

The estimated cost of the device is $550,000, which does not include maintenance costs.

Lanane told board members the fact that there was not a warranted need for it, the fact that it would require the pool to be four feet deeper than previously designed to accommodate the device, and also the fact that there were some troubling reports about maintenance problems with the product all were influential factors in recommending that the board not approve the pool floor.

Because it was a workshop session, board members took no action.