A school district in Oxnard, California issued $76 million in bonds.
The bonds will be backstopped by a new district-wide property tax of 3 cents per $100 of property valuation. Payment on the bonds will begin in August 2023. The bonds have maturities between 2025 and 2053, with yields between 2.57% and 4.35%.
Voters authorized the bonds as part of a ballot measure in the district in November 2022. That measure authorized Oxnard School District to issue up to $215 million in bonds. The $76 million issuance marks the first time the district has utilized this authority.
Proceeds will be used to “reconstruct older middle schools, modernize and construct elementary classrooms and support facilities, increase teacher and student access to modern classroom technology, and improve student security and safety,” according to the ballot measure.
The bond issuance comes amid falling enrollment in the school district, as fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive down enrollment in U.S. public schools. In light of this decrease, some experts have called for additional investment in education on both the state and federal levels; high levels of spending on education have been correlated with better student outcomes, according to the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
Oxnard School District received over $87 million in pandemic-related funding over the last three years. The city projects that the bond financing will raise $10.7 million annually. The issuance leaves the city with $138,485,000 of unissued but authorized bonds under the 2022 ballot measure, which passed with 55% of votes in favor.
Similar measures were passed at four other school districts in Ventura County, where Oxnard is located.
Oxnard is a seaside city of 200,000 west of Los Angeles. Its schools have been criticized for proficiency scores in math and reading that fall below statewide averages.
Raymond James & Associates served as lead underwriter for the bond issuance.