Planning & Construction Frequently asked Questions
Question 1: Are builders' fees the only monies available for building and land purchases?
No - Builder's fees, also called "Developer Fees" (formally called the Capital Facilities Fund) are used for buildings and land purchases needed for enrollment growth. Visalia Unified School District also uses State Facility dollars (as building or modernization projects are approved, the approved funding is deposited into either State Fund 352 or 353,) bond proceeds (all proceeds are deposited into the Building Fund 210), and the Special Reserve for Capital Outlay, again, funded by project savings (which can only be expended on "like kind" facility projects).
Question 2 : If a project runs over budget, where does the money come from?
Other funds restricted for facility use. In recent years, Visalia Unified School District projects have come in under budget. If, however, a project is under-funded, the district must make up the difference. At VUSD, if a project has ever needed additional funding, that funding has been expended from restricted facility funds including the developer fee fund (for growth construction), the bond fund (for projects that are on the approved bond project list), or fund 400 (Special Reserve for Capital Outlay).
Question 3 :Are General Fund dollars being used for all these new facilities projects?
No - General Fund dollars are not used for land purchases or building costs. One can also easily verify that no general fund dollars are being used via transfers into facility funds and eventual expenditure there. When looking at our general ledger, it can be seen that there are no contributions or transfers from the general fund into fund 250 (developer fees), fund 350 et. al. (state new construction and modernization funds), or fund 400 (special reserve for capital outlay).
Question 4 :Has VUSD used any general fund dollars to purchase land?
No - All land purchases during the prior years have been made using Developer Fees fund 250 dollars, Certificates or Participation funds (COPS), or through "land exchanges" using land already owned by VUSD. Developer fees are collected specifically to fund growth facilities and land costs. The annual developer fee report can be accessed to inspect specific land purchases. In 1998 and 1999, Certificates of Participation funds were used to purchase two sites planned for future elementary schools and some additional acreage at El Diamante High School Site. There have been no general fund dollars used to purchase land.
Question 5 : Is land ever purchased using categorical money?
The purchase of land (real property) or buildings from categorical funding is extremely rare. For VUSD, it is nonexistent, except for state preschool funding that paid for the state preschool buildings (not land) at various sites through a zero interest loan. Loan payments are made annually out of Fund 121, Child Development Fund, which receives no general fund contribution.
Question 6: What is the current Developer Fees?