In 2000, California voters made a trade-off in order to help schools.
They made it easier to pass school bonds, and in exchange, they included a caveat to safeguard the funds: The money can’t be spent on employee salaries.
That way, the thinking went, taxes approved for school construction actually paid for facility repairs and upgrades, not employee paychecks or other routine costs.
A ballot summary by the California attorney general said the new law lowering local voter approval requirements for school bonds from two-thirds to 55 percent, “Prohibits use of bond proceeds for salaries or operating expenses.”
So, it may come as a surprise to learn school districts statewide have been freely — and legally — spending bond money on employee salaries and benefits for more than a decade.
Help Us Raise $100k By the End of May
Will you please read this!! We tried to get this initiative passed almost 3 years ago. It died because the president of the PTA at my school had to think about it. No one wanted to hear about it. They are putting their heads in the sand and pretending that they care by becoming figure heads, not true leaders.
Please share it? I'm tired of being 1 of 12 San Diegans who are doing this alone!
Maybe if enough people actually care, then we can try to get it started again.
The title and photo of this article is meant to make you think that bond funds are used on teachers and school staff, which is the purpose of the rules. This is misleading and irresponsible. You can't run multi million dollar programs involving masterplanning, programming, design, and construction without hiring and involving district staff, there is a ton involved.
Having said that though it is a great article and summary of all the big programs and how the cost breaks down.
To me, there are two questions,“Do these expenses seem reasonable”, and “how are they documented to be sure the district involved isn’t fudging”? To me, the expenses sound very unreasonable. To think, e.g., that $15 mil is being spent in the current year by SDUSD employees in overseeing ongoing construction projects is a stretch. I wonder what the district would do if VOSD requested, in writing, a breakdown of these expenses?
This article was pretty much a waste of space. While their is much room to criticize how Bond money and Gen fund monies are spent, what is the alternative? Using classroom money to oversee contruction??
Come on !
Sorry John but using long term debt to service short term salaries and pensions is tantamount to death spiral financing.
They are shifting expenses that should be out of their operating budget.
Its deceptive, underhanded and is yet another example of why the school district are not good stewards of public monies.
Mark, this isn't sidestepping, these costs are needed to run the bond programs. It's impossible to handle under operating expenses.
Were the people overseeing the bond projects hired for that job specifically or were they existing staff?If they were existing staff then yes it was sidestepping.
public "trust" certainly takes a beating.
Until the voters demand better of the schools, the city, the county and federal government these kind of revelations will continue.
Nice job Ashley for bringing this to light.