How would you spend $270 million?

Six weeks after voters approved a $270-million school bond, Glendale Unified officials have begun soliciting applicants for an oversight committee to monitor spending.

The Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee will be responsible for reviewing Measure S bond expenditures, producing an annual report and communicating with the public as it makes sure state rules are followed.

“It is a very vital committee to us,” said school board member Greg Krikorian. “Expectations are important …It is an oversight of the whole direction we are going.”

Applications, due June 3, are available on the district website. To qualify, an applicant must be at least 18 and live within Glendale Unified boundaries. The application states that expertise in areas including architecture, engineering, construction, law and finance are “highly valued” but not required. District employees are not eligible.

State law dictates that the seven-member body must include representatives from one active business organization, a senior citizen’s group, a bona-fide taxpayers association, two parents or guardians of a Glendale Unified student — one of whom must also be active in a parent-teacher organization or school site council — and two community members.

“I think we are going to have an overload of applications, which is a good thing,” Krikorian said.

Two members will serve an initial one-year term, while the remaining five will serve two-year terms. All members can apply for a second two-year term. The committee’s estimated life span is 10 to 12 years, although it won’t be disbanded until all Measure S funds are exhausted, officials said.

“Anybody who is not selected the first time around, there will still be plenty of opportunities,” said school board vice president Christine Walters.

All committee member applications will be screened by the superintendant’s office, Supt. Dick Sheehan said. The final selection will be made in collaboration with the school board and be announced by the June 21 board meeting.

In addition to reviewing expenditures and serving as a mouthpiece to the larger community, Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee members are authorized to review annual audits, inspect school facilities and review efforts by the district to maximize bond proceeds.

They will not appropriate dollars, approve construction contracts or change orders or set construction plans or schedules. Those powers will be reserved for the superintendent and school board.

The district is also in the process of voluntarily creating a secondary advisory body — the Superintendent’s Facility Advisory Committee — which would be tasked with, among other things, ensuring bond projects meet construction standards and specifications.

Measure S passed on April 5 with 69.9% of the vote — well above the 55% needed — and will be phased in on the heels of Measure K, a $186-million bond passed in 1997 that financed major construction projects, such as the refurbishment of Clark Magnet High School. The cost to property owners will remain even, about $46 per $100,000 of assessed value, through 2050, according to the school district.

District officials expect to issue the first series of Measure S bonds — a total of $54 million — by early fall. Priority projects include technology upgrades and safety and security enhancements at school sites.
 
 

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