Santa Paula Times
The Bond Beast, can it be stopped?
Published:  May 27, 2016

By Steve Smead

A $79,000,000 (79 MILLION) Bond measure will be on the June 7th ballot here in Santa Paula.  This bond financing will be used to pay for the schools ongoing maintenance and upkeep.  This has become the norm today and must be stopped.  School boards know that bonds are easy to pass using “the children” as the reason to vote for a school bond.  The real reason school boards want to strap tax payers with millions and millions more debt is to give the school board great power and it frees up millions of dollars for hiring more administrators and raises which will help with their reelection  campaigns .  

Santa Paula residents voted 3 years ago to unify the high school district and the elementary school district based on the fact that having one unified school district would save money.   Unfortunately that has not happened.  The now unified district has 30+ more employees than the 2 separate districts had before.   The administration claims they are saving money, but I would have to see that to believe it!  

The school board has wasted millions of dollars by not doing their job.  Here are just a few examples: 

 It is well known that parking around the high school is a big problem for local residents.  The solution to the problem is to secure more parking.   The board ordered a parking study at a cost of $45,000. And guess what the study confirmed what was already known the school needs more parking.   The school board bought up 3 dwellings on Palm court for over $1,000,000 and is going to pay to have them torn down for additional parking.  Hard to believe but that was the best the board could come up with to solve the parking problem.  The cost of each additional parking space will be over $25,000.      

The school board decided to give up the 6 plus acers in East Area One that was part of the development for a new high school.  The buyout was $1,000,000.  The board then purchased a property north of East Area One for $1,750,000 that was supposed to be used by the FFA.  The problem is that the board did not do any due diligence prior to the purchase of the property, and it is now known that the property may not even be useable.  Part of the land is not even in the city.  Now the district is stuck with dead land and no future high school site. 

I am not ready to throw more money at this board until all the facts are known about what is going on and why the board is squandering Santa Paula residence hard earned money.  Even the governor, Jerry Brown agrees that school bonds are out of control.  The state of California is paying about $2,000,000,000 (2 billion) a year to service past bond issues.  Brown points out, that the process for allocating the money is inefficient and unfair.   The $9,000,000,000 in additional school bonds proposed at the state level will add $500,000,000 (5 hundred million) a year to the state’s obligations.    

So, Santa Paula tax payers have a choice to make, the status quo or say no another $79,000,000. (79 million) of debt.  If you add the current bond debt to the proposed debt Santa Paula tax payers will have over $129,000,000 (one hundred twenty nine million) of debt to pay.   Stop wasting more of the hard working residence money.   Renters, business owners and homeowners will be stuck paying for the next  30 years. Not only will you be paying but, your children and grandchildren will also be paying this debt off.    Hold the school board accountable.