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BUSD hopes for $5 million in QZAB bonds

The Bonsall Unified School District does not have plans to ask voters for a general obligation bond to make modifications at Sullivan Middle School, but the district intends to fund the improvements with Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB) and the district will be contracting with a bond counsel firm to assist the school district with legal proceedings, execution, and delivery.

The BUSD board voted 5-0 October 10 to approve a contract with Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth for bond counsel. The fees BUSD will pay to the Reno firm will be determined by the hours expended by the bond counsel’s personnel but are estimated to be between $20,000 and $30,000.

“We’re talking about applying for a QZAB, a Qualified Zone Academy Bond, to get the high school going at the middle school campus,” said BUSD superintendent Justin Cunningham.

Qualified Zone Academy Bonds are a program of the U.S. Department of Education. The bonds are administered through state education departments. “The QZAB is something that the state has that can go out at very low interest rates,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham is expecting the Bonsall district to pay an interest rate of 1 1/4 percent. “We’re trying to get $5 million,” he said. “We’re using it to upgrade the facilities at the middle school.”

The November 2012 election included a successful unification vote which will transform the K-8 Bonsall Union School District into a K-12 Bonsall Unified School District while removing that territory from the Fallbrook Union High School District. The new Bonsall high school will have ninth graders only when it opens in 2014-15 and will expand by one grade each year through 2017-18. The high school will initially be on the same campus as Sullivan Middle School.

Both the new high school and Sullivan Middle School will utilize the New Technology Network model. Students at a New Technology Network school interact with local industry and serve internships, allowing those students to develop a network in their desired career fields. The New Tech curriculum also utilizes interdisciplinary fields, for example the combination of biology and physical education studies for biophysics, and concurrent enrollment with a community college allows students to earn early college credit. Schools where students interact with industry also have reduced truancy and other behavioral problems compared to traditional high school campuses.

The interdisciplinary curriculum will require classrooms which can accommodate two teachers and up to 50 students, so modification of existing Sullivan classrooms will be necessary.

“Pretty excited about getting ready for that high school,” Cunningham said.


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