By Ted Brown
Special to the Outlook
How can anyone be opposed to a school bond? Well, a hundred million here and a hundred million in interest can add up to real money. Check our website for some background information on these bonds: bit.ly/NoLCUSDBond.
Most voters didn’t know about this school bond proposal until they got their sample ballots and saw signs around town. But this is a major proposal: $149 million in bonds, with a cost of $268.2 million to pay them back with interest. This money will be owed by every property owner in La Cañada and will appear on property tax bills for 30 years. Bonds are not free money.
Under the law, school bond measures have to list the specific school facilities and projects that are to be funded. The list for Measure LCF is rather general, with no specifics for any one school. Instead, most of the school bonds that go on the ballot around California are generically worded.
There was a previous bond measure in 2004 called Measure B, for $25 million. This was considered enough money at the time for school projects. There are only four school [campuses] in La Cañada. Measure LCF would average $34.5 million per school, an amazingly high amount. This is obviously an inflated figure that taxpayers should say “No” to. I’m sure the School Board can find a way to spend that much money — but the taxpayers can stop them from doing so with a “No” vote if they feel it’s excessive.
All California schools are rated with School Accountability Report Cards (SARCs), and the report cards give all La Cañada schools the highest rating. It’s not clear by any means that mysterious multimillion dollar projects are needed at the schools. Was the 2004 money spent appropriately and wisely? How often does the School Board need to come back to taxpayers as their cash cows? This new expensive measure needs to be delineated in detail and investigated — rather than giving the School Board a blank check.
La Cañada has some of the best schools in California and residents have every reason to be proud of them and want to keep them that way. Voters will want to automatically vote for Measure LCF because they think it’s necessary to keep local schools on top. But that’s a bad argument. Just spending money doesn’t always give students a better education. Voters need detailed lists of the projects at each school in order to decide if they’re vital, and if so, why should they cost so much?
Voters, think about this high bond amount and where the money is going before you commit yourselves. Remember, over 30 years, $268 million in property taxes will be taken from La Cañada property owners. If voters reject Measure LCF, La Cañada’s kids will still have great schools, but educational bureaucrats will not have this large amount of tax money. Say NO to Measure LCF.
Brown is Secretary of the Foothills Libertarian Party and a small business owner.