I have never seen a public servant work harder for anything than WCCUSD School Board member Charles Ramsey worked to complete the District’s ambitious program to rebuild or upgrade every single school in the system.
After the voters passed the latest bond in November 2012, the final hurdle was a debt limit waiver by the State Board of Education. The Contra Costa Times editorialized against it, and a handful of anti-tax zealots quietly lobbied against it.
But Ramsey led a team of advocates that secured unanimous support from every city in the District as well as dozens of other governmental organizations, including labor unions and police chiefs. State board members were educated and lobbied. He never rested until it was done.
West Contra Costa schools win state bond debt waiver
By Rick Radin
Posted: 05/08/2013 04:11:25 PM PDT
Updated: 05/08/2013 04:11:26 PM PDT
SACRAMENTO -- The state Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a debt limit waiver for the West Contra Costa schools that will allow the district to continue its $1 billion-plus school construction program.
The waiver was necessary because the district's schools have $797 million in outstanding bond debt, which left no more bonding capacity for the $360 million in debt authorized by Measure E, passed by district voters on Nov. 6. Measure E was the district's fifth successful bond measure for school construction since 2000.
The state limits a unified school district's bond debt to 2.5 percent of the total assessed valuation of property within its boundaries while elementary and high school districts are allowed 1.5 percent. West Contra Costa, a unified district, is being allowed to lift its limit to 5 percent for 12 years for Measure E bonds.
The district's total bond debt could rise to more than $1 billion when the 25- to 30-year bonds authorized under Measure E are sold.
The district will use proceeds from the sale of the bonds to replace, rebuild or improve 20 of its schools as well as invest in classroom technology, said Charles Ramsey, a 20-year school board veteran who has served as the bond program's champion.
A new Pinole Valley High School, which will begin construction this summer, will be the centerpiece of current program, Ramsey said.
"(The debt limit waiver) is a tremendous validation of the district and the program," Ramsey said.
West Contra Costa has the third-largest construction bond program in California, behind the larger Los Angeles and San Diego districts.
From Charles Ramsey:
One for the Ages!
On May 8, 2013, at 4:32 PM, Charles Ramsey wrote:
You better believe it! The State Board of Education just completed the item and voted unanimously(9-0, student state board member Josephine Kao was absent,) to approve our debt limit waiver for 5% for 12 years and they also removed the restriction on Capital Appreciation Bonds . What a tremendous victory for our kids and what a testament to hard work and perseverance. We got exactly what we wanted and now we can move ahead with continuing the momentum with our bond program.
My Karma was feeling good especially when I learned about this guy and how he became a hero for saving all of those kidnapped girls,
So, I just felt that although I was not a national hero at least I was a champion for our kids and I was glad that I shared the same name as the now famous Charles Ramsey. I just knew that after Monday it was going to be all right. For the school district this will go down in history and is a seminal moment for all of us, it reminded me of the most famous game ever in pro football
Or when Wilt Chamberlain scored a 100 points in a game
These are moments that have lasted a lifetime and now our efforts one day will have the same long lasting effect. Yes, it now means it is truly time to do all the great things that we all dreamed about and knew were possible. Yes, and Yes again, we did it. Right now I am just thrilled and cannot come down from this wonderful feeling of accomplishment. As they like to say on the school grounds these days,
When you have earned your rightful place to sit amongst the winners it is appropriate to take the time and to make sure that you savor every second of the moment and so now it is for all of us to
That is right, celebrate! We are going to plan a big Bond Team party to celebrate the fact that we can more of our schools throughout the district and continue to have ribbon cuttings like the one that Dr. Dan Tanita had when he opened the dental clinic at Peres. I look forward to having many, many more of these with the same smile in the next decade!
But I owe it all to my dad who twenty years ago believed in me and told the audience when I was first sworn in that he trusted that I would make a difference, so to Dad this for you! I hope that I made you proud
Now is the time to thank each of you and to let you know that all of you are very important and that I do this for my wife and kids, Adrianne Tillman Ramsey and Monica Ruby Ramsey, who mean the world to me. They are the reason why I try to help others, so that one day they know that I did all I could to change the attitudes that constantly plague our community and tried to make the world a better place. No longer can people sit back and point fingers about us and now I can proudly say that WE DID IT!!!!
Once again and now we can add Measure E to the list of successes with the debt limit waiver now applied to this phenomenal bond program. And once again, a loud and boisterous THANK YOU. For all of us and in the end it is all about the West Contra Costa Unified School District kids!!!!
Yes on E!!!!
All the best.
Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Clerk
West Contra Costa
Unified School District