Skip to comments.LAUSD's New Bond Proposal: What Should Voters Do?
Posted on 08/03/2005 6:31:53 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
Last week, the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to place yet another multi-billion bond measure on the ballot. This $3.8 billion proposal is, of course, on top of the $9.5 billion in bonds that have been approved since 1997, the most recent, less than 18 months ago. Of course these figures do not include interest on the bonds which nearly doubles the taxpayers' obligation.
It will be very interesting to see if voters, once again, allow themselves to be fleeced. To put into perspective the magnitude of these multi-billion dollar bonds, all one has to do is look back eight years ago to Proposition BB. It was, at the time, the largest local bond issuance in American history. With each of two subsequent bond measures, the LAUSD has exceeded its own record.
In promoting Proposition BB, district officials promised the citizens of Los Angeles unparalleled oversight and strict accounting to ensure that the money was used properly. However, subsequent investigations by the school district's own oversight committee, as well as its chief auditor, concluded that much of this bond money was spent on salaries, consultants, leases and expense reimbursements, which, although perhaps legal, violated the representations made to voters as to the purpose for the funds. The vice-chair of the oversight committee referred to the district's expenditures as "bait and switch."
Each new bond proposal brings new promises -- many of which are never kept. There is an old saying "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." Are Los Angeles voters setting themselves up to be fooled a fourth time?
Perhaps the LAUSD and all its allies who make millions off the taxpayers have run out of luck. First, it is not just the district's capital expenditure programs that have attracted scrutiny. The district's normal operations are now running in the red. Indeed, the state controller has placed the district on a "Financial Watch" list of troubled school districts which may be unable to meet their financial obligations. In short, it isn't just taxpayer groups that are critical of the district and its management.
Moreover, the district may not be able to appease charter school advocates this time. For past bond measures, the district would silence the choice crowd by throwing them a few crumbs. But this time, the school board has rejected the request for a mere $70 million for charter schools. Never mind that the charter schools have shown great promise in delivering a better educational product at less cost. The district's failure to fund charter schools at a reasonable funding level may cost them a key ally in obtaining voter approval for the bond measure.
Despite its history of mismanagement and failing to deliver on promised projects in the past, the district's bond proposal could very well still pass. While its ability to build schools on time and on budget is questionable, its ability to run slick sophisticated political campaigns is not. Superintendent Romer has promised a multi-million dollar campaign to fool -- ah, convince -- voters that another $4 billion is needed. Will this money come from parents? Hardly. Look for the bond houses, bond lawyers, construction companies and education unions to raise this money.
After all, it was these same special interests which financed the successful Proposition 39 campaign which lowered the vote threshold for local school bonds from two-thirds to 55%, guaranteeing that nearly all bonds pass, regardless of merit. As with the district's bond proposals, the campaign to remove an important protection for property owners was chock-full of deception and empty promises.
If anything, this should prove that this new bond is not about "the kids." It is about sustaining a massive bureaucracy and those who live off it.
It will be very interesting to see if voters, once again, allow themselves to be fleeced.
The bureaucracy has a massive tape worm!
Cut them off
No. More correctly it's about sudsidizing foreign nationals. Today nearly half of the students in the LAUSD are the consequence of illegal immigration.