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District’s ‘Measure M’ Bond Measure In Full Financial Compliance

The Santa Clarita Community College District’s Measure M community oversight committee has accepted the findings of an independent audit confirming that management of the college’s Measure M general obligation bond is in full compliance with all laws and accountability measures set forth by the legislature and mandated by California education code.

The audit also confirmed that the Measure M financial statements present fairly the financial position of the bond and that the district has properly accounted for all bond expenditures while only spending funds on authorized bond projects. 

In addition, the audit verified that bond funds were not spent on general administration or operational costs.

“We simply couldn’t have asked for a cleaner looking audit,” said Nick Lentini, chair of the district’s Measure M oversight committee.

The audit, which was performed by the firm Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co., LLP, included both a financial and performance audit, covering the fiscal year ended on June 30, 2013.

In its report the firm noted no adjustments, audit findings, questioned costs, or instances of noncompliance associated with the bond — further confirming that all funds have been spent appropriately.

The firm issued an unmodified opinion, the best rating possible.

The audits were presented to the district’s Measure M Citizens’ Oversight Committee at its January 14 meeting.

“We are very pleased that College of the Canyons has achieved another clean Measure M audit, for the sixth consecutive year. The district is very proud of its reputation for responsibly managing bond funds,” said Sharlene Coleal, Assistant Superintendent, Vice President of Business Services at the college. “Moreover, we appreciate the dedication of the volunteers who serve on the Measure M Citizens’ Oversight Committee to ensure the bond proceeds are spent in accordance with what local voters approved in 2006.”

Local voters approved the $160 million general obligation bond Measure M, in November 2006.

The value of the bond has since increased to approximately $232.8 million thanks to the addition of earned interest and roughly $67.5 million in state matching funds.

The district initially issued $80 million in bonds in May 2007, which was followed up with an additional $35 million in bonds issued in May 2012.

As of June 30, 2013, the audit confirmed approximately $125.5 million in resources from the first two bond issuances, which also includes earned interest and net premiums on the bonds. 

Of that amount, more than $103 million has been expended on authorized bond projects, leaving the district with Measure M bond reserve balance in the neighborhood of $22 million.

The district also has a remaining authorization of $45 million in bonds to be issued at a future date.

“College of the Canyons has been extremely diligent about making good on the promises of Measure M — and exceeding them,” Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook said. “The community has entrusted us with building the best community college ever imagined. We’re making that happen by leveraging Measure M bond funds to attain the absolute maximum value possible.”

Since its passage, Measure M bond funds have been used on a wide variety of major facilities projects and campus expansions at the college including the construction of the Canyon Country campus and the creation of the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center.

Other projects include the construction of the Applied Technology Education Center (ATEC) at the Canyon Country campus, the dramatic expansions of Mentry Hall and the Library/TLC (The Learning Center) at the Valencia campus, and currently, the still-under-construction Student Services & Administration building and the Culinary Arts facility.

The college’s next phase of bond-funded construction is scheduled to take place in Canyon Country and includes plans for the campus’ next three permanent buildings.

In fact, with the district’s $22 million bond reserve balance and $45 million in future bonds still pending, the college has already secured the money needed to qualify for state-matched funding and, eventually, begin additional construction in Canyon Country.

Under the current state funding formula the college is scheduled to pay roughly 15 percent of all pre-approved construction projects at the Canyon Country campus, with the state then expected to cover the remaining balance.

Such a scenario would equate to the college spending approximately $3.6 million on the first building, $3.7 million on the second building and $4.2 million on the third building.

Meanwhile, the state would then be expected to contribute $14.1 million, $20.9 million and $16.8 million, respectively per project.

Despite their readiness, college officials are currently in a holding pattern as all future construction plans are contingent on the state being able to place a statewide facilities construction bond on a future ballot.

 

For more information about Measure M or the district’s Measure M Citizens’ Oversight Committee please visit www.canyons.edu/Offices/PIO/MeasureM/.