When is too much enough? A look at schools, money and taxpayers

by Steve Miller | October 15, 2015 7:39 am

Dump truck[1]A proposed $9 billion state bond for school construction projects includes multimillion-dollar project requests from districts where student enrollment has declined, a CalWatchdog investigation has found.

The measure, on the 2016 ballot, is supported in large part by a cadre of interests led by developers, architects, contractors and educators. Among the talking points from proponents is a professed $2 billion in projects that await funding, in all nearly 400 requests from districts that have been either approved or requested by districts. 

Most of the money is aimed at improving schools or building more, and in some cases for districts that are struggling to attract students.

Declining Enrollment

West Contra Costa Unified has seen enrollment dip by 2,000 students to 30,596. Voters in the Northern California district approved a $360 million bond measure in 2012. The district is asking for $47 million more in state funding.

At Los Angeles Unified, the second largest school district in the U.S. in terms of students, enrollment has dropped 12 percent since 2005 to 646,683 in 2014-15.  It has $43 million worth of requests for state funding. The number of certified staff, which includes teachers along with upper-level administrators, has also dropped at L.A. Unified, by 8 percent in the last decade.

Then there’s the case of Centinela Valley Union High School District, where voters approved bond measures in 2008 and 2010 totaling $196 million. Over that same period, district Superintendent Jose Fernandez was handed a perk-laden contract that added up to $663,000 in compensation in 2013.[2]  Fernandez was fired last year[3] after the package was revealed.

Enrollment in the district dropped from 8,000 to 7,878 between 2005-06 and 2014-15 as the two bond measures were passed.

Statewide, public enrollment has remained static for the last five years.

Here’s a look at the districts with recently voter-approved bonds and projects on the waiting list for state bond funds. The listing includes the margin of approval and the ballot language, as well as the dollar amount of the district’s request with the state.

RELATED Developers Lobby Pushes Statewide Education Bond[4]

For an interactive map of the info listed below, CLICK HERE[5]

Oakland Unified

West Contra Costa Unified

San Ramon Unified

Chico Unified

Clovis Unified

Fresno Unified

Washington Unified

Orland Unified

Eureka City Unified

Los Angeles Unified

Centinela Valley Union High School District

Redondo Beach Unified

Anderson Valley Unified

Calistoga Joint Unified

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified

Anaheim City School District

Savanna Elementary School District

Tustin Unified

Desert Sands Unified

Val Verde Unified

Temecula Valley Unified

Corona-Norco Unified

San Juan Unified

Cajon Valley Union

San Diego Unified

San Marcos Unified

Stockton Unified

Belmont-Redwood Shores School District

Burlingame Elementary School District

Sequoia Union High School District

East Side Union High School District

Franklin-McKinley School District

Rincon Valley Union School District

Windsor Unified School District

  1. [Image]: http://calwatchdog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Dump-truck.jpg
  2. added up to $663,000 in compensation in 2013.: http://www.dailybreeze.com/centinela-valley-investigation
  3. fired last year: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-centinela-supt-20140820-story.html
  4. Developers Lobby Pushes Statewide Education Bond: http://calwatchdog.com/2015/10/07/threat-cost-increases-pushes-developer-lobby-support-education-bond/
  5. CLICK HERE: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=z5R6CJMU48oQ.kVIA909Far8k

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2015/10/15/much-enough-look-schools-money-taxpayers/