Financial Plan? San Diego Unified School District says we don’t need no stinkin’ financial plan!

The Libertarian Lass, Gayle Falkenthal The Libertarian Lass, Gayle Falkenthal 5 Comments


Recent revelations about high-interest, long term financing of a school bond measure by the Poway Unified School District cannot have escaped the attention of a single school official in San Diego, the state of California, or nationwide for that matter. Citizens are outraged and sounding off. Watchdog groups are calling for reforms that would prevent this type of financing scheme on future bond measures.

But it appears San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Bill Kowba isn’t too concerned about that pesky fine print. On Tuesday, KGTV 10 News investigative reporter Mitch Blacher interviewed Kowba about the District’s $2.8 billion Proposition Z school bond measure, which will be on the November ballot.

You might expect Kowba to be full of reassurances that San Diego Unified would never do such a thing. But instead, Blacher had to repeatedly question Kowba regarding the financing of the proposed bond. Finally the Superintendent shockingly confessed: “We don’t have a financial plan built looking out into the future.”

Say what?

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association points out that nothing in Proposition Z prevents the District from taking on the exact same type of high interest debt employed by the Poway Unified School District, which could triple Proposition Z’s cost for taxpayers. Sadly, the District is already using and abusing this type of high-interest financing right now. It was recently reported that San Diego Unified issued a $164 million bond that will cost District taxpayers over $1 billion.

Shouldn’t the District finish the projects promised to voters just four short years ago when it raised San Diego property taxes by $2.1 billion under Proposition S before asking for more money? The District has spent less than 25 percent from the last bond. But it’s back for more, another $2.8 billion more to be exact. And shouldn’t the voters know what the heck they are being obligated to pay ahead of time? It’s like signing a mortgage loan agreement without knowing the terms in advance.

I’m hard pressed to decide whether Kowba and school officials are naive, arrogant or dense. None of them are attractive qualities in school system leadership.

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association urges a NO vote on Proposition Z. SDCTA has also issued additional ballot measure recommendations.

DISCLOSURE: The San Diego County Taxpayers Association is a client of my public relations consulting firm, Falcon Valley Group. SDCTA did not have input or give direction as to the composition of this column.


Comments 5

  1. The progressive majority on this board doesn’t care if borrowing $164 million costs over $1 billion. First, it’s not their money. Second, they can get away with it. Third, the progressive agenda is about taking from one group and giving to another. If they were smart, they wouldn’t make that so obvious.

    Ponder and Powell for school board, please…

  2. regarding:
    “gopmomofthree says:
    August 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm
    The progressive majority on this board doesn’t care if borrowing $164 million costs over $1 billion.
    First, it’s not their money.
    Second, they can get away with it. ”

    My comment – They know they can get away with it because We the People allow it. That’s why. We really have a lot of power but we do not use it.

    But remember as long as the contracts stand with ICLEI and the City Councils of San Diego, Chula Vista, Del Mar, Encinitas, Vista and Santee, we have to expect them (and the school boards) to follow ICLEI’s global agenda.

    in fact, one school I stopped into taught the new global governance.

    also I question why do we allow schools to have a MECHa club when I read that the sole purpose of this group is to overthrow the United States?

  3. It seems that SD unified leadership has again lost its way in terms of fiscal responsibility. CAB’s seem to be the easy way to find funds to continue to support a direction with no”financial” plan as illustrated by the response by the superintendent. If you read the latest UT and voiceof san diego take on the Poway Unified district CAB then you know that SD unified has also put itself in the same situation and now wants you to go along and do it again.

    The real issue here is making sound fiscal decisions given the reality of our current economy and the economy which will be the case for sometime. My plan would focus on what we have now and what can be done to finance those ” necessary” projects with conventional bonding and move away from CAB;s period. I would be transparent with the facts and provide the tax paying public with how much needed to be bonded, the length of the payment period, interest and what they will get for the bond in terms of “educational” benefit for students. I understand that some people might find that we can only do so much with that kind of “financial planning” but it beats the current system of kicking the can down the road.

  4. With the lower 55% majority vote requirement, it’s hard to defeat a school bond in all but the most conservative areas — and the city of San Diego is NOT such an area.

    But, thanks to the SDUSD board (and their Superintendent’s) incompetence, arrogance, labor union fealty and good old stupidity, they just might kill off their own school bond. THEY are more persuasive for the “no” side than the opponents can ever be.

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