Property owners will have to pay
What happens if that projection is wrong?
Tax rates would rise to cover bond payments.
It doesn't matter what voters are told about estimated costs before the election. Once the bonds are sold, property owners are on the hook for paying them off.
The same is true if school districts aren't able to get the interest rates they expect from lenders. If interest rates rise before the bonds are sold, taxpayers will pick up extra cost.
Weaver expects to sell four school bonds -- in 2013, 2017, 2021 and 2025 -- all with a 5.6 percent interest rate.
The Delhi district's bond adviser, Matt Juhl Darlington and Associates of Chico, estimated the interest rate there would be 5.75 percent.
The expected interest rates for Sonora and Summerville were not provided to The Modesto Bee.
Figuring out how long it would take for these bonds to be paid off hasn't been publicly disclosed by all the districts.
Summerville, for example, supposedly wouldn't start paying off its new $8 million bond until after 2023, when some of its existing bonds are repaid. Interest on its new bond apparently would accrue all the while, which would boost the ultimate repayment cost and lengthen the term.
Repayment schedules are key to figuring out bond costs.
Property owners in San Diego County's Poway Unified School District now wish voters had asked more questions before approving bonds there in 2008.
This summer, it came to light that Poway taxpayers will be forced to pay $981 million during the next 40 years to repay $105 million in school bonds.
As in Summerville, Poway will accrue interest charges but won't make any payments right away. Poway's bonds cannot be refinanced or paid off early, so its property owners are stuck with the nearly $1 billion tab.
Poway's bond advisers reportedly pocketed millions of dollars for setting up that deal.
The bond advisers for Sonora, Summerville and Weaver will get paid only if their bonds are approved by voters. The Modesto Bee couldn't confirm whether that's the case in Delhi.
Some bond opponents think it's wrong for school districts to trust bond funding calculations done by consultants who get paid only if they can convince voters to support a proposed bond.
"They charge $60,000 to $75,000 to run the campaign," Tuolumne County resident Jerry Morrow said about Sonora and Summerville adviser Isom Associates. "It's outrageous for the taxpayers."
Modesto Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2196.