An oversized BOUSD mailer hit Brea Friday, courtesy of the “Yes on K” PAC and it failed to contain a shred of truth. Instead it leaned heavily on scare tactics. Let’s parse the language one false statement after another.
False: “Fanning Elementary sustained significant damage requiring over a one year closure and almost $7 million in repairs and updates.”
Truth: Only a portion of Fanning Elementary underwent asbestos mitigation and repair. The total cost was closer to $4 million of which $2 million was reimbursed by the state.
Months passed without the board approving or initiating any work. We’d would have fared better had we called FEMA.
2015 SARC (School Accountability Report Card) states that Safety (Fire & Hazardous Materials), Structural (Damage & Roofs) and External (Playground, School Grounds, Windows, Doors, Gates & Fences) are in good condition and facility is given an overall rating of “Exemplary.”
Facility Improvement Needs list for Fanning lists these “to do” items: Seismic Upgrades for Kindergarten Wing and Main Office – $1 million; Asbestos Abatement – $500,000; School Facility Repairs & Upgrades $12.85 million. Total: $14.35 million
False: “The Orange County Grand Jury made a ruling requiring mandatory asbestos removal at all schools in O.C.”
Truth: The grand Jury has no authority to mandate anything, they review and recommend. Their 2015-16 report “Dealing With Asbestos In Orange County Public Schools” cited 12 findings and 20 recommendations.
Not all of which were applicable to all schools/districts. The 27 OC school districts were required to respond (in writing) to only those findings and recommendations applicable to them. I checked the Grand Jury website and discovered that the BOUSD response is missing for some reason. Looking into it.
There was no mandatory mitigation required, this was a county wide assessment.
False: “Measure K will fund critical projects throughout the BOUSD… Earthquake Retrofit, Restore Leaking Roofs, Plumbing Repairs/Replacement, Installation and/or Repair of Fencing, Asbestos Abatement, Fireproofing, ADA Accessibility/Code Updates, Install Shade Structures, Electrical Repairs, Construct/Renovate Classrooms, Cafeteria & Multi Purpose Buildings, Installation and Upgrades to Campus Security Systems, Replace Outdated Heating/Ventilation/AC Systems, Repair Hardcourt Surfaces.”
Truth: This is not the official legal language of Measure K and is therefore excluded from consideration when holding the district accountable.
However, Measure K fine print does say, “… certain construction funds expected from non-bond sources have not yet been secured. Therefore, the Board cannot guarantee that the bonds will provide sufficient funds to allow completion of all listed projects.”
Following consultant recommendations, the district turned to generic terminology, proven via focus group study to elicit a supportive response to school bond measures. It is so nonspecific that it renders bond revenues into nothing more than a slush fund.
The process leading to Measure K has, from it’s outset, relied on total fabrication. It’s genesis can be found in the district’s failure to actually do the work as promised from the 1999 bond issue, in the dismal failures of 2012 and 2014 bond issues, in the mishandled asbestos mitigation projects at Fanning Elementary and the Junior High.
Liars, damned liars and statistics.
Stephen King once said, “The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.”
The BOUSD and Board are relying on conscripting faculty to work the phones day and night, scaring the hell out of parents and convincing them that Measure K is the mother load of solutions.
It is not. It is a straight line to creating a massive debt from here to 2056, the preponderance to be paid off by those it is supposed to serve… our children. All with no guarantee provided that anything of real educational value will be created, upgraded, mended or mitigated.