Tuesday, August 8, 2017

District builds its tradition of high marks for Prop. V construction program

The expansion of chiller plant at Grossmont College
For the third year in a row, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District has received outstanding marks for providing open information about its Proposition V construction bond program.
The district received 24 out of 25 points possible from the San Diego Taxpayers Educational Foundation for the transparency of GCCCD’s Prop. V program. The taxpayers foundation released its annual transparency scorecard July 25 for the 23 school and college districts in San Diego County with active facilities bond programs.

Proposition V, the $398 million construction bond approved by East County voters in fall 2012, paved the way for the district to continue the work started with Prop. R – the $207 million facilities bond passed in 2002 that resulted in the construction or renovation of 13 major facilities at the colleges.
The resurfacing of the Cuyamaca College running track
The college district’s strong showing in the taxpayer group’s transparency report follows the mold of spotless independent financial and performance audits the district continues to receive year after year for its construction bond programs. The district’s string of spotless audits remains unbroken, with the Governing Board in January receiving unblemished audit reports for the 13th year. 
“The transparency report and our spotless audits over the years confirm the district’s commitment to provide responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Our Governing Board is keeping their promise to East County voters to spend construction bond funds exactly as we stated in election ballots,” said Sue Rearic, vice chancellor of business services and the district’s chief financial officer.
The transparency scorecard rates the East County college district as one of 15 school districts to receive a score of 85 percent or better for meeting the criteria for bond transparency. The district received a grade of 96 percent from the taxpayer organization.
In the report, the taxpayers education foundation scores all the county school districts on their website information for their bond oversight committees, the committees’ 2016 annual reports, and independent financial and performance audits.
“This report is intended to provide tools for San Diego County school districts to use in the ongoing process of improving transparency -- the accessibility of information that makes it possible for taxpayers to assess the performance of school facility bond programs,” according to the San Diego Taxpayers Educational Foundation.
Founded in 1987, the SDTEF is the research arm of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. According to the taxpayers association, it releases the research “to bring attention to the issues that impact taxpayers and often informs the Taxpayers Association’s advocacy efforts.”
The district reached a Prop. V milestone in the spring with the completion of an $8 million expansion of the Grossmont College central chiller plant that serves the cooling needs of the entire campus and is credited for a nearly 70 percent reduction in energy usage for the campus. Numerous other projects have been completed at the district colleges, including renovations at the Cuyamaca College Exercise Science Building and track, and upgrades to the electrical system at Grossmont College.
At Grossmont College, the expansion and upgrade of the central chiller plant was the first major Prop. V building to be completed because it is critical infrastructure for other Grossmont College facilities, including the Teaching and Performance Theater and a Science, Math and Career Tech Complex.
At Cuyamaca College, major projects include the renovation and expansion of the Ornamental Horticulture Complex and a new Student Services Building, which will house offices for admission and records, financial aid, and counseling, in addition to an expanded veterans center. Construction of the Student Services facility is expected to begin in fall 2019. The OH construction is expected to begin in April 2019.

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District serves about 30,000 students each semester, about 20,000 at Grossmont College and almost 10,000 at Cuyamaca College. For more information about the colleges, go to www.gcccd.edu

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