AUSHD Board Places $400 Million School Bond On March 2020 Ballot

At its October 10 meeting, the Anaheim Union High School District Board of Education voted unanimously to place a $398 million school bond on the March 2020 ballot for voter consideration.

If passed, property owners would be taxed at a maximum rate of $30 per $100,000 of assessed valuation of taxable property. So, a homeowner whose house has an assessed value of $700,000 would find another $210 tacked onto his or her property tax bill.  Since single-family homes constitute 44% of the assessed property valuation in the AUHSD, the proposed bond’s costs will fall most heavily on homeowners.

The AUHSD’s revenues for the 2018-2019 fiscal year were $407,973,348; expenditures were $425,600,076. 51% of AUHSD spending was for employee salaries, and another 29% was for pensions and benefits.

AUSHD has experienced declining student enrollment for years. The estimated enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year is 28,450 – down from 30,339 in 2013-2014. However, district spending has been increasing even as the number of students enrolled in AUSHD schools has been decreasing.

The AUHSD spent about $40,000 this summer on polling (using the political polling firm Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin, Metz) to gauge voter receptiveness to passing yet another school bond. According to the district’s “Community Colloquium Consensus Report,” the poll showed 61% of AUHSD voters supportive of another school bond.

This report was dutifully signed by the district’s executive leadership, principals and consultants. It called for the AUHSD to undertake a communications campaign to build voter support for the impending bond initiative, including:

  • “Message to voters the plans for the use of funds”
  • “Use existing school activities (coffee, walks, etc.) to inform”
  • “Educate on how bonds work and how the funds will be spent”
  • “Use tools such as website, social media, time-lapse videos, etc.”
  • “Engage and hold accountable our cities and city council members”

In other words, use taxpayer dollars to build voter support for a political campaign.

While the bond language stipulates that bond proceeds cannot be used to boost the salaries and benefits of teachers, administrators and other school employees, the reality is district monies are fungible. If the bond passes, monies that would otherwise be appropriated for capital expenditures can be shifted into employees’ salaries and benefits – by far the biggest consumers of district revenues.

If experience is any guide, the campaign for pass the bond will be funded by the school employees unions and businesses that do business with the AUHSD. district vendors. During recent school bond campaigns in districts like Garden Grove Unified, the campaign reports of the pro-school bond campaign committees read like lists of existing district contractors, vendors, plus businesses that stand to make money on construction.

This $398 million school bond comes just six years after AUSHD voters approved Measure H, a $249 million school bond (although once interest is included, the cost of Measure H is more like half-a-billion). In fact, the language of the two school bond initiatives is virtually identical – AUHSD officials tweaked a few words and changed the dollar amount from $249,000,000 to $398,000,000.

At the time of Measure H’s passage in 2014, the AUHSD was saddled with more than $95 million in debt from Measure Z, the mismanaged $132,000,000 school bond passed in in 2002.

12 comments

  1. This voter wasn’t polled and will no voting no!

  2. A CA sales tax was voted in a few years ago to overhaul the state’s schools. OC voted it down after voting in renovation funding for our elementary school district as well as AUHSD and community colleges. Sacramento decided to punish OC for voting against it by denying us our share of the proceeds. If that still holds, I say we demand our share of the funds to pay off the debt. I’ll be voting no on another bond measure!

  3. Calling Will Swaim, calling Will Swaim.

    It”s no surprise that Jose and Al’s cabal are trying to oppress education rights and squash quality charter schools while looting the bank.

    Look no further than measure K in Brea, which failed miserably when it was exposed that the bond funds were being eye’d to pay off the high school rape victims. Kennedy HS, anyone?

  4. l’m assessed $177 AUHSD and $265 from Anaheim school district every year on a very average home. AUHSD spends upward of $15000 per student annually. It’s an unheard-of amount of cash being consumed and the schools have been rebuilt. Losing the harassment case at Kennedy and sweeping it under the rug the taxpayers are going to get the bill, a much larger one.
    NO MORE BONDS – STOP TAXING US

  5. School districts need to learn to live within their budgets.Everyone expects families and businesses to do this, so why are school districts excluded? Everyone seems to think that if it’s “for the children and/ or the schools”, anything goes and everyone wants to hand over even more of their hard-earned money. School districts need to be more responsible with the money they have been allotted.

  6. I will Vote NO too.

  7. Mo from West Anaheim

    They need to cover the recent lawsuit as well. So frustrating

  8. My family will VOTE NO on any bond measure to give more money to Mike Matsuda’s regime. The state should investigate and audit the school district. Where has all the money gone?

  9. Absolutely NO

    I will vote NO. I will encourage a NO vote.

    Live within your budget!!

  10. I got one of those poll calls, and was incensed at the mere thought of those greedy bastards wanting yet more money. The AUSHD is a swirling drain, and our tax dollars keep on heading right down their sewer. I voted NO the last time and will vote NO again.

  11. Check out AUHSD’s Blueprint website, http://auhsdblueprint.auhsd.us/default.aspx, the result of 2014’s Measure H. It seems this additional money is just the next phase of the original $1 Billion needed to fix it all. So Measure H’s $250 Million was just the first phase? It was supposed to last 10 years? They ran out of our money already?

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