Q:   So, if the COP loan of $5.2 million will be paid off in 2017 why the need for Measure "O"?   
A:  Sierra Unified, along with all other CA schools, have been receiving less than Prop 98 guaranteed funding for 4 years now.  Since 2008, SUSD has lost $8.4M.  The district has made some severe cuts to adjust to this situation.  They went from four schools to two, and cut 24% of their employees, while still trying to protect the education and programs that keep children excited and motivated.  However, heading into next year, more cuts are coming from Sacramento.  Right now, cuts are proposed for transportation, which would be extremely harmful for all small, rural districts like ours.  Whether those cuts materialize in the form of transportation cuts or some other form, more cuts ARE coming.    So the question is...what does our district cut next?  They have proposed several scenarios to give us a feel for what the next few years would look like if they continue "as is" (shown as "COP"), refinance for lower payments, or pass a bond.  I'll attach that slide for your review.  Our position is that we need to take that facility payment OUT of the general fund, and keep those funds focused on instruction and programs, as they should be.  Refinancing for lower payments continues the same practice, and continues to erode funds meant for instruction.  And frankly, it doesn't go far enough.    The bottom line is that to finish out the loan "as is" would cut programs and instruction to unacceptable levels.  This course penalizes kids in the system right now.  This will also feed into the cycle of declining enrollment because more children will go "down the hill" for access to sports, music, drama, ag, AP classes, and more.    We have a chance here to "right the ship", and move forward, and we believe it is the most responsible thing to do.
Q:  Four years ago, Big Creek and Pine Ridge were included in the bond proposal, two years ago they not included, and now they are included on this proposal.  Why the inconsistancy?  Why should they pay off the Foothill campus loan when they have their own K-8 schools?
A:  Good question!  The difference between these bond proposals was what the funds would be used to support.  Pine Ridge and Big Creek students do attend Sierra High School.  If the bond proposal significanly affected the high school, Pine Ridge and Big Creek were included in the vote.  Although Measure O pays off the Foothill campus,  that loan is paid from the general fund, and because the outcome so significantly impacts the high school programs, the fair and equitable course is for Pine Ridge and Big Creek to participate in the vote.
Q:  I'm hearing the original financing was $14,555,000 in 1991/2, but that the cost of Foothill was $17,110,000.  Which is it, and what is the difference?
A:  Per Janelle Uthiem, Asst. Superintendent of Financial Services, the original financing was for $14,550,000 in 1992.  In 1993, the amount was increased to $17,110,000, but at a lower interest rate, keeping annual payments the same.  The additional amount paid for offsite utilities, including the sewer plant.  In 2003, the loan (COP) was refinanced to lower interest rate, lowering the annual payments to their current levels ($1.158M/year), with final installment in March of 2017.