Jan 13, 2009

SB 328 -- School Debt

SYNOPSIS: Requires the DLGF to collect, organize and publicize data relating to 44 measures of school debt affordability. These measures include a corporation’s cash ratio, current ratio, operating ratio, total outstanding debt, whether general fund expenditures have exceeded revenue in the preceding three years, the ratio of outstanding debt to median household income, percentage change of school population over the preceding five years, and the percentage of mortgage foreclosures over the previous three years. These measures must be determined and publicized prior to a school corporation issuing bonds or entering into a lease rental agreement after Dec. 31, 2009, unless the school’s governing body holds at least one public hearing in which discusses the bonds or lease agreements, as compared to affordability measures and allows for public testimony.

OPPOSE/NEUTRAL: While this legislation is an advance in securing government accountability, allowing the local school boards themselves to develop the numbers for presentation at a single required public hearing, is not as reliable as having an external, disinterested third party develop the data. If the legislation were amended to include a mandatory review and publication of the listed factors prior to a required series of public hearings, it would be worthy of support.

STATUS: Authored by Sen. Walker, referred to Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy.

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