If you donate more than $5,000 to a school bond campaign in San Diego County, you have a good chance of getting the often lucrative contracts that follow.
A four-month Voice of San Diego investigation into local school bond campaigns, including public records gathered by NBC 7 San Diego, revealed a pervasive pattern: In 13 of the 17 local school districts that have issued bonds since 2006, a significant correlation exists between the major donors to the district’s bond campaign, and the companies that won work on the bond program.
Overall, more than 70 percent of companies that donated more than $5,000 to those campaigns also won bond-funded contracts.
And several donors were awarded contracts without going through an open, competitive process. Rather, they were hand-picked by district officials and school boards, or were chosen by a selection process that bypassed long-standing safeguards designed to ensure the public is getting the best possible deal.