Bond Counsel and Financial Advice
The firm has a state-wide reputation as a leader in the area of bond counsel and special counsel services for school districts. We have assisted district’s on numerous successful general obligation bond elections and other revenue raising programs for facilities. For example, our firm established one of the first Mello-Roos community facility districts in the State. Since that time, we have established Mello-Roos Districts in both populated areas as well as undeveloped areas planned for future development. In addition, we have established School Facility Improvement Districts (SFIDs) and other special districts organized for school funding purposes.
Since 2006, our firm has been bond counsel for the issuance of more than 100 tax-exempt financings on behalf of school districts. As a result of our direct knowledge of school districts and school boards, along with their operation, we have the ability to work closely with a district’s staff and its board through each step in an election or bond issue. We regularly assist in formulating strategies and proposed finance and facility policies for board review. We also endeavor to make sure district staff are apprised of all procedures and requirements both prior to, and after the issuance of a bond. In addition, because of our extensive experience with the State’s School Funding Program at OPSC and the Department of Education, we are capable of providing critical assistance to school districts in the acquisition of funds for needed school construction projects. Also in the area of voter approved financings for schools, we work extensively in the area of parcel tax elections, to meet school district non-facility financial needs.
Certificate of Participation and Lease-Based Financing
In addition to voter approved debt as described above, we also have extensive experience assisting school districts in the issuance of certificates of participation (“COP”) and other lease-based financings. We provide real estate related services in the acquisition of school sites throughout the state as well as the finance of new schools and school renovation projects on these sites.
Our firm provides legal advice to assist school districts to create Mello-Roos districts (CFDs) and to sell Mello-Roos (CFD) bonds. Over the last 18 years, we have created 24 community facilities districts for a unified school district in Riverside County and eight community facilities districts for a unified school district in San Bernardino County.
The special taxes levied by these CFDs provide new revenue sources for both new construction and remodeling projects. The special taxes also pay debt service for and are critical with respect to multi-million dollar complex bond issues. These CFD special taxes are used to finance construction projects and real property acquisitions. Our firm works with school district and their financial advisers to efficiently use CFD special taxes and bonds to finance projects independently and in conjunction with general obligation bond issues and other financings such as certificates of participation
Energy Management and Conservation
Finally, we work significantly with school districts in the area of energy management and conservation. We have assisted as general counsel in the establishment of energy conservation systems as well as bond counsel in the issuance of Federally backed bonds for energy conservation. In this latter area, we have assisted districts in the issuance of Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (“QZABs”), Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (“CREBs”) as well as Qualified School Construction Bonds (“QSCBs”).
These Federally backed, public school finance programs have saved the firm’s school district clients significant finance costs. This is an added benefit to the long term facility and energy savings resulting from the overall energy projects. In this same area of law, we have assisted our school district clients in understanding and implementing these programs as school districts move toward the year 2030 goals of “Net Zero Energy” and “Net Zero Water.”