In 1978, California’s Proposition 13 eliminated general obligation bonds and tax-override lease financing, which were then the two primary financing vehicles for school districts.

Our School Financing Group played a significant role in developing financing substitutes, including lease certificates of participation (COP) financing, asset transfer lease/leasebacks, Mello-Roos financing, and Education Code 39308.5 financing (using pre-Proposition 13 tax overrides for new school facilities).

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When Proposition 46, adopted in June 1986, restored school districts’ authority to use general obligation bonds, Orrick responded by drafting and implementing legislation and conducting seminars outlining the new procedures by which school districts could conduct a general obligation bond financing. Since that time, we have served as bond counsel on nearly half of the general obligation bonds issued by California school districts. We also designed the California School Cash Reserve Program Authority’s annual tax and revenue anticipation note financing, which includes more than half of the California school districts that issue such notes.

We were also instrumental in developing and designing the Land Bank Program in California. Under this program, school districts can acquire parcels of land for future school sites through a lease financing technique. This ensures the availability of neighborhood locations before the neighborhoods are developed, and it replaces the uncertain rate of future land appreciation with the current long-term tax-exempt interest rate. We have also worked with the State of California in addressing the technical details of its “50-50 Program,” in which the state matches funds contributed by school districts when financing their projects.

Since 1985, Orrick has served as bond counsel or underwriter’s counsel for more than 500 school districts (including school district participants in the pool programs), on more than 2,200 bond issues, aggregating more than $38 billion.

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