Published February 2, 2020
We are the co-chairs of the Bond Oversight Committee: Riley Cornelsen and Anya Milton.
In recognition of our community’s interest in the School District and in light of the levy on the ballot, we wanted to take a moment to provide information on how seven amazing volunteers have been spending their time since last year’s special election, where a $112 million dollar bond was passed.
For readers who are unaware, bonds and levies fund very different components of the district budget. Bonds are designated for specific building and major maintenance projects, while levies fund education services. Despite the upcoming election where the Ferndale School District, along with every other school district in Whatcom County, will be asking voters to approve a levy, the Bond Oversight Committee as a group does not publicly take a stance on the current levy request.
We the Committee, would like to publicly share a quick overview of what we do, and how we are investing hours of our precious time, away from our families, to ensure that the District deliver bond projects:
- On Time
- On Budget
- As Promised, and
- With Transparency
The Bond Oversight Committee or BOC was officially created and formed on May 21, 2019; when we held our first public meeting. The Committee consists of community members who live in the district. Mark Harting, Brian Lynch, Sandi McMillan, Dan Cornelsen and Cathy Raymond round out our group. This committee has seven members in total and we are presently looking for two alternates. A few of our voting members have had to step down due to them moving out of district and another for time constraint reasons. Because we recognize that life happens, we want to stress the importance of the role of the alternates, who ultimately are a full part of the BOC, without voting rights. We welcome other community members to apply and be part of this important Committee.
The BOC meets monthly, in addition to presenting quarterly at School Board Meetings. We have created our own charter, which we refer to as our bylaws and have worked closely with the School District in helping the School Board incorporate our committee into their governing policy. Both sets of these documents can be found on the District website.
Each Committee Member brings a unique set of skills to the table in order to assess and ask clarifying questions that help guide this bond process. Our remit is to review and recommend on many of the complex aspects of bond projects. We review the larger concepts and we scrutinize the minutia of intricate financials. The level of intelligence, knowledge and experience is impressive throughout this group!
We have worked hard to create a cadence of communication with the District and construction managers. We have been invited to selection processes and we are often asked our professional opinion on specifics. We consistently ask the District to communicate many different aspects to the public, refine their language, and create graphics that help illustrate progress and results. The District and construction managers have been committed to our process as it continues to develop and comply because they recognize that the BOC has tremendous value not only the them, but to the community. We all recognize that we are stronger together.
The District is not in the business of building schools, which is why they have hired experts and engaging community members committed to the process. This way they can focus on educating and developing young people who come back to their hometown and invest their time, energy and expertise to foster hope and pride for future generations.
We the committee invite the community to attend our monthly meetings, that take place the third Tuesday of each month at Mountain View’s library at 6 pm. We invite you to reach out to us with your questions and concerns, our email is listed below; and finally review our documents found on the District website.
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