Measure K guest blog by: Jason Kraft, Candidate for Brea School Board
There has been substantial debate, some quite heated, regarding the November ballot initiative Measure K posed by the BOUSD Board of Directors.
As much misinformation as facts have been circulating. This piece by Jason deals only with facts and reaches a conclusion wholly supported by them.
What is Measure K?
If approved, Measure K would allow the Brea school district to borrow $148 million. This money, plus interest (roughly $300 million total), would be paid back by increased property taxes and higher rents for the next 40 years.
How would Measure K money be spent?
The Brea school district can spend this money on the items in the “Project Listing” section of Measure K. These items are not specific projects, they are broadly-defined goals such as:
- “Provide necessary infrastructure for all nine schools”
- “Additional classroom technology equipment”
- “21st Century classroom equipment and furniture”
- “Upgrade classrooms”
- “Upgrade school office entrances”
Any project that could potentially fit into any of these broadly-defined goals would be an acceptable use of Measure K funds.
Will Measure K pay for all the school facilities projects that need to be done?
No. The district has identified needs of $302.5 million, so Measure K would pay for less than half of these projects.
Why won’t Measure K pay for all the school facilities projects we need?
The amount of money requested by the district for Measure K was chosen based on polls and surveys, not based on actual needs. The figure of $148 million polled the best, so it was chosen as the amount for the bond.
How do we know which specific projects will be funded?
We don’t. There is nothing in Measure K that requires specific projects to be prioritized or funded.
What about the list of projects recently released by the district?
This list of projects represents all the school facilities projects that have been identified. It is not part of Measure K, it is not legally binding, and it cannot be used to hold the district accountable for spending.
Are the budgets for the identified school facilities projects accurate?
We don’t know. There has not been an independent audit of the budgets for these projects.
When will specific projects be completed?
We don’t know. Measure K has no information about project timelines.
How will the school district be held accountable for how Measure K money is spent?
We don’t know. Measure K would create an “Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee”, but accountability would be limited to the broadly-defined goals outlined in the measure. Measure K has no information about what kind of powers this oversight committee would have or how they would enforce their oversight decisions.
Is there a legitimate need for school facilities projects?
Yes. These projects need to be funded, but they need to be funded responsibly with a new bond measure that provides true accountability.
If Measure K doesn’t pass, how will we pay for school facilities projects?
We will immediately start working on a new bond measure for the 2018 ballot that includes public input from teachers, parents, and the community. The process for creating this new bond measure will be open, honest, and transparent from the beginning. Independent audits will be used to ensure we are budgeting and prioritizing effectively.
What if emergency funding is needed for a project that can’t wait until 2018?
The school district has over $10 million in reserve accounts that can be used for emergency funding if there is an urgent need.
How did Measure K get on the ballot without any details about specific projects, priorities, or timelines?
The text of the bond measure was made public in the evening of Friday, July 22nd, at the last possible moment allowed under the law to qualify for a vote at the July 25th Brea school board meeting. Several community members spoke about the serious problems with the measure at the July 25th school board meeting, but it was approved unanimously by the board anyway, two weeks before the deadline for putting the measure on the November ballot.
How can we fix this?
- Vote No on Measure K
- Vote out the school board incumbents who approved Measure K despite its flaws.
- Help us work on a real solution for 2018 that funds our schools responsibly.