Skip to comments.LAUSD bond proposal now twice as large ($3.2B not enough. $7B more for the LAUSD ed. black hole)
Posted on 07/29/2008 9:24:07 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
Los Angeles Unified School District officials are considering asking voters to approve a $7 billion bond measure in November, more than twice as big as previously discussed and nearly half of it set aside for unspecified future projects.
LAUSD's board is set to vote Thursday on whether to support the bond measure, which allocates more than $3.2 billion for future "repair and safety," "modernization, repair and technology," "green technology" and to "attract, retain and graduate more students," according to a draft summary of the bond funding distribution.
Meanwhile, district and charter officials are wrangling over exactly how much charter schools would get from the bond measure and whether the charters would own any properties and schools that are developed with the funds.
While district officials and others defended the bond, critics on Monday cited concerns over the unspecified funding and note that it is the fifth bond in the past decade for the district's $12.6 billion construction program.
"Anytime a bond is vague in how it'll spend public money, it raises a red flag," said Kris Vosburgh, executive director of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
But district officials and a representative of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said building the future "priority" funds is smart policy that allows for flexible spending.
Decisions on spending of those funds would be subject to a Bond Oversight Committee and approval by the Board of Education, said Glenn Gritzner, a policy and political strategist for L.A. Unified.
"The question comes down to whether the district should have to go back to the voters to address future priorities," said Caprice Young, president of the California Charter Schools Association.
Meanwhile, charter and L.A. Unified officials still are negotiating the terms of charter funding under the bond measure.
Under a preliminary proposal, charters would receive a portion of $700 million to build or reconfigure classrooms and could keep the property themselves.
An additional $300 million of the bond is set aside for charter school construction if 32,000 seats are not made available for charters and other education partners, such as the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.
"None of that has been resolved," Gritzner said. "The ownership question is still in flux."
And that has also raised objections from A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.
"If they agree to give these schools, or build new schools, for the sole purpose of charters, we will not support it," Duffy said.
Duffy said while the UTLA has not taken an official position yet, it is a difficult spot for the union - which has long supported improving decades-old school buildings, but not charter schools.
Still, Young said charters are pushing for stronger bond language to ensure 10percent of the bond funds and property for the schools because charter leaders remain wary of district leadership.
"The most important thing is that there is dedicated funds for charter schools," Young said. "Right now, we have zero confidence."
An executive summary of the bond obtained Monday by the Daily News states that the bond would not increase the maximum tax rate.
"It won't increase the overall taxes people pay," Gritzner said.
But Vosburgh remained skeptical.
"Cumulatively, people are paying a lot more when you add five bonds together," he said.
Support for the bond has surfaced nonetheless.
A political action committee for Villaraigosa polled 100 voters earlier this year and found that more than 60 percent supported a proposed bond even as the poll also found a profound lack of trust in LAUSD leadership.
Villaraigosa, along with LAUSD Board of Education President Monica Garcia, Young and Green Dot Founder Steve Barr backed a bond offering earlier this month.
That’s a fragging load of money.
Is the Los Angeles School District building its own Navy?
One more good reason to show up and vote this year is to vote down all bonds and parcel tax measures that will be on the ballot ...
Title should be changed to........down a brown hole. ;)
changed to........down a brown hole. ;)
wait ‘til Moonbeam runs for Gub in 2010.. and wins. :-o
These people are wasting - and stealing - money beyond my ability to comprehend it.
And yet they keep voting in the Democrats.
The amount of waste is staggering. I worked in LAUSD for one year. There’s never any money for teacher salaries, benefits, or paper. There’s TONS of money for crap no one wants or needs, new mahogany desks in the downtown offices, and tons of people sucking on the teat that don’t even have an contact with children.