Capistrano Unified: A Case Study in Opposing Bad Bonds

By Sheridan Swanson
A practical way for citizens to fight ill-conceived school bond measures View our full School Bonds Toolkit here for additional resources. School bonds are designed to fund the building and maintenance of school facilities, but there have been increasing concerns about bond oversight and how districts utilize bonds. Too often, school districts put bond measures on...

TAGS: financing infrastructure, Government Finance, school bonds

When Approving a $7 Billion Bond Proposal, Did the LAUSD Board Violate the Brown Act?

By Edward Ring
As reported in the Beverly Press and elsewhere, the “the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously to place a $7 billion school construction bond issue on the November ballot which would allow the LAUSD to continue its multi-year effort to upgrade school facilities.” Writing for CityWatch on August 6, Jack Humphreville had this to say about this big new...

TAGS: LAUSD, school bonds

California’s K-12 spending exceeds $20,000 per pupil

By Edward Ring
“It’s not enough. We’re still 41st in the nation in per pupil funding. Something needs to change. We need to have an honest conversation about how we fund our schools at a state and local level,” –  California Governor Gavin Newsom, State of the State Address, February 12, 2020 It should come as no surprise that Governor...

TAGS: Edward Ring, Gavin Newsom, Public Policy Institute of California, school bonds

Californians face a wave of local tax hike measures

By Craig Alexander
The economy has been booming over the last decade, which has provided local governments with a windfall in sales and property taxes. Despite the economic fat times, California cities have been complaining about their dire economic straits, with some of them even fearing insolvency unless something is done to change the financial trajectory. What explains...

TAGS: CalTax, Prop. 13, school bonds, Unions

When is a political campaign neither political nor a campaign?

By Kelly McGee
California law prohibits government officials from using taxpayer dollars “for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure.” But on February 13, in the meeting room of the Santa Ana Unified School District, school officials revealed a political campaign that began with shaping public opinion and will end in November with a district-wide vote on a bond measure that will cost residents hundreds of millions of dollars.

TAGS: school bonds, Stanson v. Mott

The SAUSD Song Remains the Same

By Kelly McGee
1999: Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson, Beyonce Knowles and LeToya Luckett, of Destiny’s Child, perform at the Woodlands Pavilion at Jump Jam. Santa Ana Unified was asking taxpayers to pay its unplayable bills. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Steve Campbell) It’s 1999, and Bill Clinton is one year removed from his affair with Monica Lewinsky becoming public. Destiny’s...

TAGS: school bonds

The perilous state of Santa Ana schools

By Kelly McGee
Class conflict: Santa Ana schools are spending more and more on fewer students. (U.S. Air Force file photo) School officials in California’s sixth-largest school district are working overtime to promote a massive $1.2 billion bond tentatively scheduled for a districtwide vote in November. Yet behind their chatter about improving Santa Ana Unified facilities is a...

TAGS: school bonds

How to Identify a ‘Good’ Bond

By Edward Ring
On November 8, Californians approved Prop. 51, authorizing $9.0 billion in new borrowing for construction and upgrades of public schools. Also on November 8, Californians approved 171 local bond measures, authorizing over $22 billion in additional financing for construction and upgrades of public schools. This new borrowing is only to construct and upgrade K-12 and...

TAGS: school bonds

Construction Firms Fund Orange County School Bond Campaigns

By Andrew Heritage
Companies linked to the school construction industry have placed their November bets on a number of Orange County school bond ballot measures, a California Policy Center investigation of campaign contribution reports collected by the Orange County Registrar of Voters show. Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo (AALRR) is a law firm with eight offices across...

TAGS: orange county, school bonds

School District's Bond Controversy Reveals Rising Concern About 'Pay-to-Play'

By Conor McGarry
CUSD’s Kirsten Vital  In the space of just a few months, state officials have suddenly turned their attention to a problem in the public-educational shadows: insider dealing among California school district officials and outside vendors. In a January opinion, state Attorney General Kamala Harris concluded that school officials had become too cozy with companies that...

TAGS: Capistrano Unified School District, Jerry Brown, John Chiang, school bonds