Union-Tribune Article Prints Some Truth About Prop E
Union-Tribune reporter Caroline Bidding’s article “Coronado Schools Seeking $29 Million Bond” in today’s paper quotes two NO on Prop E voters.
“I’m just convinced they (the district) not only don’t need our money, but they are wasting it when they do get it,” said longtime Coronado resident Jim Newhall.
“They are not being good stewards of our money. We have a lot of different examples of that.”
In records he has seen, Newhall questions the $4.1 million spent by the district over the past 27 months for professional consulting, a $241,000 price tag for pizza delivery, $3 million for computer leases and $1.7 million for computer service and repairs, among other expenses. He says he and other Coronado taxpayers have asked to see all the district’s financial statements, a request that has gone unheeded, he said.
“We can’t get any details,” said Jerry Toci, another longtime Coronado homeowner. “This is very frightening. “We don’t know how much they are actually borrowing. We have no idea of what it will cost to repay or how long, and we don’t know what the money is going to be used for.”
Union-Tribune Prints Lots of Worthless Campaign Promises that CUSD Regurgitated, So We Do the Fact-Checking For You
The U-T failed to fact-check it’s way into discovery of the real reason for Prop E. Prop E is a sneaky School Pool boondoggle re-finance scheme.
The U-T printed 14 categories of worthless campaign promises and other meaningless generalities from CSUD without fact-checking.
CUSD’s worthless words are in italics at the beginning of each of the 14 categories. Our fact-checking follows:
(1) “District officials say if the measure passes, the funds will be used on facilities, equipment and technology in the five-campus district that will help maintain manageable class sizes and prepare students for college and good-paying jobs in math, science and technology.”
As noted in the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTPA) 13-page analysis of Prop E, CUSD failed to submit the COSTS for all of the items in the Project List . . . including any “facilities, equipment and technology” projects . . . even though CUSD is legally required to present ALL COSTS of ALL PROJECTS it lists in seeking Prop E school bonds . . . Yet CUSD merely provided costs for only two items:
- School Pool boondoggle re-finance scheme – CUSD submitted its costs for re-financing the Certificates of Participation (COPs) . . . called “lease agreements” . . . that CUSD took out to finance the School Pool boondoggle WITHOUT voter approval . . . which VIOLATES the prior false campaign promise CUSD made to our community that Coronado taxpayers would NEVER be responsible for the School Pool because CUSD would pay to construct, maintain and run it . . . and CUSD would do such a good job of running the School Pool that CUSD would make a PROFIT from the School Pool . . . ha ha ha! . . . and CUSD’s plans to use NEW Prop E General Obligation Bond (GO Bonds) debts to re-finance OLD School Pool boondoggle debts (the COPs) is a dangerous precedent and further evidence of CUSD’s continuing financial mismanagement.
- Maintenance costs for buildings, e.g. painting buildings, additional signage, etc. . . . which are OPERATING COSTS . . . that should NEVER be paid with Prop E school bonds because it’s a slippery slope of continuing financial mismanagement . . . Prop E are General Obligation Bonds (GO Bonds) which are intended for one-time, major, capital costs like CONSTRUCTION of dilapidated school buildings. All of CUSD’s buildings are NEW . . . and were paid for with OUR tax dollars but WITHOUT OUR VOTER APPROVAL under the Redevelopment scheme that the State shut down on February 1, 2012.
(2) Coronado Superintendent Jeffrey Felix said the funds generated by Proposition E would protect the high quality of education in area schools that are now a “casualty” of the state’s Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF.
Affluent Coronado’s property taxes are so high thanks to our beautiful beach location location location, that CUSD received an approximately $8 million INCREASE in our total local property taxes as well as a $3.2 million INCREASE in total funding in 2013.
And a world-famous Think Tank has already proven that throwing more money at schools in California DOESN’T improve student performance or achievement. Read World Famous Think Tank Proves Prop E Won’t Help Student Performance, Vote NO on Prop E.
So, NO, Prop E won’t “protect the high quality of education” at CUSD. But Prop E will keep administrators like Felix getting his 20% raises rubber-stamped by the CUSD board as is the recent, undeniable fact.
And, NO, the State’s new Local Control Funding Formula isn’t the “villain” that “caused” CUSD’s budget woes. CUSD caused its financial woes by wasting, overspending, and failing to live within its means. Read Fact: New State Grant Formula Doesn’t Take Money Away from CUSD, Vote NO on Prop E.
And, NO, superintendent Jeff . . . it’s highly inappropriate . . . especially in our military town with so many military families who are an integral part of our community . . . to use the term “casualty” when referring to Other People’s Money (OPM, or OUR tax dollars) . . . that you are whining about “losing” to needy school districts. Our United States military personnel have lost life and limb for our freedom . . . and for your right to whine about “losing” State Aid when CUSD actually received a $3.2 million INCREASE in funding in 2013 according to CUSD’s own audit. Read CUSD Received $3.2 Million INCREASED Funding in 2013, CUSD Lied About Decreased Funding, Vote NO on Prop E.
(3) Under that new method of distributing state education money, revenue Coronado counted on to restore the district to pre-California budget crisis funding levels has been diverted to school districts with large populations of English learners, students from low socio-economic families and foster children, Felix said.
CUSD shouldn’t “count on” State Aid because CUSD is an affluent school district without many needy students.
CUSD must live within its ample means and rely on OUR already hefty Coronado property taxes that we already pay . . . instead of whining that the State is looking after needier children . . . and instead of demanding yet another property tax hike from us through Prop E.
Enough is enough!
(4) Felix said he has no problem with a student-weighted funding formula, but the timing of it “at the tail end of a five-year recession” couldn’t be worse for districts such as his. Coronado doesn’t qualify for supplemental grant money within LCFF. “We understand the needs of these children, but we lament that the state has chosen to fund their needs on the backs of Coronado’s deserving kids,” Felix wrote in a news release announcing the bond proposal. “Without approval of this measure, our award-winning neighborhood schools will be decimated.”
CUSD superintendent Felix certainly has told our community that he has a problem with the new “student weighted funding formula.”
He, other administrators, cronies and naive Prop E supporters have been regurgitating the meme of “unfairness” of San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) receiving more State Aid than CUSD . . . which is CUSD’s unfair and unrealistic comparison.
SDUSD has more English Learners (ELs) than CUSD. SDUSD has students from more than 15 ethnic groups who speak more than 60 different languages and dialects. So under the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) SDUSD will receive State Aid to help those high-needs students stay in school and move on to college and careers. Also under the new LCFF, SDUSD will receive more oversight grants because it has more than 132,000 students on 226 campuses . . . In contrast, CUSD has only around 2,800 students in 5 small schools. So CUSD doesn’t need oversight grants like SDUSD does to oversee its LCAPs. Read Fact: State Grant Formula Doesn’t Take Money Away from CUSD, Vote NO on Prop E.
CUSD has been whining about CUSD being “second to last on the list” for State Aid . . . which is OUR tax dollars doled out by Sacramento in various ways to SUPPLEMENT CUSD’s more-than-generous share of our hefty Coronado property taxes . . . since the CUSD board voted in February to rush Prop E onto the June 3 Primary Election Ballot.
Shame on CUSD superintendent for changing his story when speaking to the U-T reporter. A little bit of fact-checking at the U-T would have easily revealed the superintendent’s duplicity.
It’s also important to note that melodramatics are a giant red flag that CUSD is trying to hoodwink naive voters into voting AGAINST THEIR BEST INTERESTS. CUSD superintendent Felix’s melodrama is . . . inappropriate . . . He says CUSD “laments” the change in State Aid grants . . . which is a term usually reserved for mourning the loss of life . . . not the loss of Other People’s Money (OPM) otherwise known as OUR tax dollars which is State Aid . . . He also uses a cheap scare tactic by falsely claiming that CUSD will be “decimated” without Prop E . . . which again is a term usually reserved for describing the loss of life . . . not OPM . . . and Felix provides no concrete proof because CUSD won’t be “decimated” . . . When Prop E fails, CUSD will simply cut waste from its budget . . . including future raises to superintendent Felix’s already too high compensation package after his recent 20% raise . . . and then CUSD can sit back and expect more and more INCREASES in its funding from the natural growth rate of our property taxes . . . just like CUSD received a $3.2 million INCREASE in funding in 2013 according to CUSD’s auditor. Prop E is yet another unnecessary tax hike.
(5) Some Coronado homeowners aren’t buying it. And they certainly don’t want to be taxed for it at $40 per $100,000 assessed value of their homes.
The proposed Prop E property tax hike is going to cost Coronado homeowners . . . AND RENTERS . . . far more than CUSD’s worthless campaign promise of “$40 per $100,000 of assessed property value” printed incorrectly as fact in this U-T article.
Read Top 10 Reasons to Vote NO on Prop E for the explanation of how RISKY are the costs of the proposed Prop E school bonds.
(6) Over the past five years, the Coronado school district has maintained a balanced budget through larger class sizes, budget cuts, one-time federal grants and dipping into reserves, Felix said. The 3,200-student district’s operating budget is about $28 million for the current academic year and $28 million for next year.
CUSD has failed to balance its budget because . . . just like the city . . . CUSD has hidden its enormous off-balance-sheet Pension Debts and Redevelopment Debts from Coronado taxpayers . . . to the tune of MORE THAN $200 million! Read $200+ Million is CUSD’s Current Debt, Vote NO on Prop E.
Also, if the U-T had done a bit of fact-checking, they would have found CUSD parents who are agitating for the Prop E tax hike because they want their children to remain in “classes with under 20 students.” Does the superintendent mean to suggest that CUSD classes with “less than 20 students” is CUSD’s way of “maintaining large class sizes”? Someone may need a refresher course in basic mathematics.
(7) A 55 percent vote is required to pass the general-obligation bond. As of March 2, there were 10,554 registered voters in the city of Coronado, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.
Crooks know that registering new voters . . . even when they don’t reside in the district . . . is a way to cheat to win. We sincerely hope that’s not what CUSD has been doing.
Certainly we’ve seen black and white evidence of Coronado High School Principal Jenny Moore urging students to tell their friends to register to vote for Prop E in the school newsletter . . . a CUSD resource that is legally banned from promoting Prop E under the California Education Code . . . which is State law.
We’ve also heard from concerned CUSD parents that Coronado Mayor Casey Tanaka . . . who also is a Coronado high school teacher with a conflict of interest . . . has emailed his former students who live out-of-state . . . to urge them to register to vote for Prop E . . . which email addresses could be another CUSD resource that is legally banned from use in promoting Prop E . . . in violation of the California Education Code . . . which is State law.
Does CUSD imagine that it is entitled and above the law? We sincerely hope not.
We aren’t surprised that the record of Coronado registered voters surged to 10,554 from 10,228 . . . an increase of 326 voters!
We sincerely hope that CUSD isn’t engaging in a type of voter fraud in this way. If true, CUSD would be setting a terrible example for its students to cheat to win due to CUSD greed for another $29 million of OUR property tax dollars . . . that will cost Coronado property taxpayers and renters around $60 million to $90 million (double or triple $29 million face value of the school bonds) when you consider that Coronado property owners would have to pay back principal PLUS interest on the $29 million face value of the proposed Prop E school bonds.
(8) In November, True North Research conducted a telephone poll of more than 400 likely Coronado voters. It revealed that 69 percent were amenable to a $90 million bond to help generate money for district schools.
True North is merely an expensive tool that also tried . . . but failed . . . to get a risky, wasteful, unaffordable school bond passed in Del Mar in 2012 . . . just like Prop E is risky, wasteful, unaffordable for Coronado taxpayers.
Also in Del Mar in 2012 . . . Piper Jaffray bond underwriters were involved . . . they stood to make millions of dollars off the backs of Del Mar property taxpayers and renters . . . but Del Mar voters were too smart . . . and they defeated the Del Mar school bond in 2012. Read Del Mar Voters Defeated School Bond in 2013, Vote NO on Prop E on June 3.
Both True North and Piper Jaffray were involved in the unsuccessful 2012 Del Mar school bond that Del Mar voters defeated. And both True North and Piper Jaffray are involved in CUSD’s Prop E. Do you see the pattern of outside carpet baggers being invited into Coronado by CUSD in order to try to fleece Coronado taxpayers into another property tax hike?
If you know how school bonds work, you know that the TRUE AND ACTUAL COST to property taxpayers is usually double or triple the face value of the bonds.
The face value of Prop E bonds is $29 million. Triple that amount is around $90 million. The true and actual cost of Prop E to Coronado taxpayers can be around $90 million.
How would Prop E work? CUSD would get it’s $29 million face value of the school bonds and run with it . . . to waste our tax dollars as evidence shows they have wasted in the past . . . And bondholders, bond buyers, bond investors would make a generous return on their investments (ROI) . . . And Coronado property taxpayers and renters would be left with the burden of paying the principal and interest on the bonds so that the investors get their ROI.
Now do you see that CUSD’s Prop E campaign promises are worthless . . . and CUSD isn’t obligated to issue three series of “low cost” or “short duration” school bonds?
Simple fact-checking proves that Prop E would allow CUSD to obligate US Coronado taxpayers and renters to pay up to $90 million for CUSD’s use of $29 million of OUR property tax dollars in the form of yet another property tax hike called Prop E.
(9) Typically, school bonds are designed to pay for big projects with a long life expectancy, such as a new school or stadium, and they can take decades to mature.
Coronado says it wants to take a different tack that includes:
• Individual bonds issued with terms less than 5 years to reduce costs.
• The total value of all bonds issued not to exceed $29 million. District leaders have determined this amount will cover the anticipated funding problem over the next 10 years, and not beyond.
• Not issuing new bonds if they will cause total annual payments to exceed $3.3 million.
• Paying off all bonds by Sept. 30, 2024 so as not to burden future generations.
CUSD may trick the public into believing that CUSD may “want to take a different tack” . . . but CUSD isn’t obligated to do so with Prop E school bonds.
Every item in this # 9 item is a worthless campaign promise that CUSD isn’t obligated to keep.
The key to the COST of Prop E for Coronado taxpayers is the BOND INTEREST RATES. CUSD doesn’t control the bond market . . . CUSD doesn’t control the bond interest rates . . . CUSD is merely trying to dupe 55% of Coronado voters into pulling the trigger to enable CUSD to go into the bond market to issue three series of bonds to raise $29 million to support CUSD’s tax dollar waste and financial mismanagement addictions . . . with timing that is within the sole discretion of CUSD . . . and CUSD can obligate Coronado taxpayers and renters . . . to pay up to $90 million for up to 40 years!
Don’t believe what you just read?
Then read your BALLOT PAMPHLET materials. The County Counsel’s Independent Analysis on pages PR-1301-1 to 2 of your BALLOT PAMPHLET . . . says in black and white that CUSD can obligate US with UP TO 12% interest to pay back along with principal on the Prop E bonds! That means the Prop E bonds can be very expensive and Coronado taxpayers can be obligated to pay it off for many years!
The CUSD superintendent’s own signed . . . extensive . . . but sneakily unidentified and untitled . . . CUSD’s LEGAL DISCLAIMER on page PR-1301-3 of your BALLOT PAMPHLET . . . says in black and white that CUSD could be wrong about all of the above worthless campaign promises that the U-T printed incorrectly as fact . . . and there’s not a darn thing Coronado taxpayers can do to hold CUSD to its campaign promises. Voters beware!
(10) Bond proceeds would be used to fund renovation of existing classrooms and other school facilities and free up the district’s general fund by paying or prepaying lease-purchase obligations.
Again, here are more of CUSD’s worthless campaign promises that the U-T printed without challenge or follow up questions.
Most important . . . the U-T reporter failed to print the fact that “freeing up general funds” is an ILLEGAL USE of Prop E bond money . . which would really be OUR property tax hike dollars . . . so CUSD should be condemned for its plans to use Prop E bond proceeds illegally.
The U-T failed to fact-check it’s way into discovery of the real reason for Prop E. Prop E is a sneaky School Pool boondoggle re-finance scheme.
Also very important is the fact that “paying or prepaying lease-purchase obligations” is the CUSD superintendent’s admission, clear as mud, that CUSD intends to use the proposed Prop E capital improvement bonds to pay off the School Pool boondoggle debts also known as “lease-purcahse obligations” . . . a.k.a. the 2005 Certificates of Participation, or COPs . . . a.k.a. the secret debts, despised by all California government watchdogs, that CUSD issued WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL in 2005. A bit of fact-checking by the U-T would have clarified for U-T readers that CUSD intends to pay off the old School Pool boondoggle debts (COPs) with the proposed new Prop E school bond debts.
It’s wrong to pay off old debts with new debts. Too bad the U-T failed to connect the dots between “lease-purchase obligations” and School Pool boondoggle. It wouldn’t have taken much effort for the U-T to connect those dots.
(11) No bond money would be used for administrative salaries.
This is another one of CUSD’s worthless campaign promises.
Since CUSD wastes OUR tax dollars in its General Fund on administrators’ compensation . . . and CUSD said Prop E is meant to “free up general funds” for other uses . . . obviously administrators’ salaries are other uses.
So Prop E can INDIRECTLY benefit administrators at the expense of the children.
An obvious question that the U-T failed to ask CUSD is . . .Will Prop E be used for the DIRECT benefit of administrative bonuses or other administrative forms of non-salary compensation . . . like travel . . . memberships . . . meals . . . mileage . . . cell phones . . . laptops . . . more?
(12) Board President Dawn Ovrom said the proposal is a creative solution to a crisis that is real.
Nothing in Prop E is “creative” . . . it’s mandatory . . . for all school bonds that California school districts attempt after the year 2000 . . . which is the year Proposition 39 LOWERED the number of voters required to approved school bond debts from 66.6% to 55% to make it EASIER for California school districts to indebt us property taxpayers. . . the fake Oversight Committee that will be stuffed with CUSD cronies at CUSD’s discretion . . . the Project List that is CUSD’s loooong Wish List with everything thrown in but the kitchen sink . . . and in violation of the Proposition 39 law, CUSD failed to provide COSTS for every item on its loooong Wish List (Project List).
A truly creative solution for CUSD would be to make the hard choices . . . cut its waste out of its budgets . . . stop whining about State Aid . . . recognize CUSD is in an affluent neighborhood that already supplies abundant property taxes to CUSD . . . and live within CUSD’s ample means. That would impress us.
Hey, CUSD, if you have to keep saying your self-declared “financial crisis” is “real” . . . it’ NOT.
CUSD’s “financial crisis” . . . is actually fake . . . manufactured . . . self-created . . . It’s just another Big Lie that CUSD repeats over and over and over and over again hoping to wear down voters into believing it. Experience proves that if you say a Big Lie loud enough and long enough . . . eventually the public will believe it.
Hey, CUSD, do you know what would convince us you have a “real” financial crisis? Open up your books . . . release your BANK STATEMENTS . . . and let’s have a real, independent, forensic audit to see exactly what you’re doing with OUR tax dollars. What are you afraid of? The truth?
(13) “We cannot cut our way out of this without decimating the quality of our education,” she said. “This measure includes innovative taxpayer protections that make it arguably the most prudent of its kind anywhere in California.”
Ha ha ha! How amusing. And how very melodramatic.
There are ABSOLUTELY NO “innovative” taxpayer protections . . . the fake Oversight Committee stuffed with CUSD cronies who will rubber-stamp CUSD’s overspending, waste and financial mismanagement of Prop E bond proceeds . . . and CUSD’s loooong Wish List/Project List with everything thrown in except the kitchen sink . . . both are MANDATED by law to be included in Prop E. The other parts of Prop E . . . the three bond issues . . . at low cost . . . for short duration . . . with no more than X amount of bonds outstanding . . . blah, blah, blah . . . are worthless campaign promises that CUSD isn’t obligated to keep.
(14) Felix said the bond’s taxpayer protections should please the community. Also appealing, he said, is the fact the state could not touch the bond proceeds and it requires an independent citizen’s oversight committee. “That seems to hit a good nerve for Coronado,” he said.
Wrong, wrong, wrong again. Simple fact-checking by the U-T would prove that the fake Oversight Committee stuffed with CUSD cronies who will rubber-stamp whatever wasteful spending CUSD wants to do with the potential Prop E money . . . hits a VERY BAD NERVE with every non-CUSD employee, non-CUSD crony and non-naive CUSD supporter who didn’t drink the Kool Aid and who refuse to believe everything CUSD says without proof.
Prop E is very unappealing to Coronado property taxpayers who understand how Prop E will work. Prop E displeases voters in our community who don’t swallow CUSD’s campaign promises and believe everything CUSD tells voters to believe.
Remember, in San Diego the Oversight Committee . . . failed to be a “unique taxpayer protection” . . . and rubber-stamped the school district’s spending that was ILLEGAL . . . and then San Diego taxpayers had to bear the cost of a LAWSUIT against the district to stop the spending of bond funds on something that was outside the Project List . . . that was also supposed to be a “unique taxpayer protection” . . . so it’s already been proven by our immediate next-door neighboring school district that there are no real “taxpayer protections” in school bonds.
“Several mediocre minds concocted an impractical plan.”
The only taxpayer protection against CUSD’s overspending, waste and financial mismanagement is for Coronado voters to refuse to give CUSD yet another credit card to max out for $29 worth of school bonds without accountability on the part of CUSD.
The only real taxpayer protection is to vote NO on Prop E on June 3.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Coronado voters, don’t choose to allow yourselves to be fooled . . . a second time . . . by CUSD. Remember the School Pool boondoggle.
Make CUSD cut waste and live within its ample means.
Vote NO on Prop E on June 3.
Read the rest of the Union-Tribune article by clicking here.