At the Board’s recent Prop AA planning workshop, the district revealed that the district’s new schedule of projects will result in over $100 million in escalation costs, almost doubling the cost of the remaining projects under Prop AA. What this means for taxpayers and the district remains uncertain.
Future projects, which somehow were determined to be less important than the building of the $11 million off-site field near La Costa Valley, include the reconstruction of Sunset High School’s campus, the renovation of La Costa Canyon’s 200, 900 and administration buildings, and modernization of Oak Crest’s classrooms and multi-purpose room. Renovation of Sunset’s campus, an “all portable” campus, was originally set at just under $11 million, but now is expected to cost closer to $17.5 million. Sunset is also not scheduled to be built until 2025 per the board workshop materials. Also listed is the building of an $18 million admin/multipurpose room at the off-site La Costa Valley community parcel to go with those $11 million fields already built.
The insanity continues? As noted in a previous blog article, the district has had numerous discussions about turning the $11 million off-site “La Costa Valley” fields to the City of Carlsbad, over objections of local organizations such as Encinitas Soccer and parents residing in the district who have urged the board to turn the property over to a local in-district organization instead. Watchdog is unclear why the district would invest another $18 million in the 22 acre parcel under the circumstances (making the total investment in this non-school property to around $30 million), especially given the language of the Prop AA bond.
Has the district forgotten what the purpose of the $449 million Prop AA bond was? Note to board, here’s the language. Please read it.
To provide safe, modern schools and prepare students for success in college and careers by repairing and upgrading outdated classrooms and schools, constructing and upgrading school facilities, including classrooms, science labs, and technology instruction with 21st Century instructional technology and facilities, shall San Dieguitio Union High School District issue $449 million in bonds with independent oversight, no money for administrator salaries, and all money staying local.
A voter might wonder how the district could justify spending $11 million on off-site fields and now an additional $18 million admin/multipurpose room at this site while at the same time it is thinking about turning them over to the City of Carlsbad. Remember, the majority of Carlsbad residents did not pay for the bond because they are outside the district’s boundaries and pay for their own district and projects.
A voter might also wonder why the off-site athletic fields were prioritized over Sunset High School, the district’s transition program for disabled students and other school and student needs, which must wait years for badly needed upgrades and new facilities. As noted in a prior post, the district’s transition program for disabled students was not even included in the district’s project list, but those $11 million off-site athletic fields were. And now, $11 million off-site fields will get company from an $18.1 million offsite admin/multipurpose room, the one that was originally only supposed to cost around $6.8 million.
Other Prop AA costs. Not only are the escalation costs going to add just over $100,000,000, but voters need to look at the “total debt service” on top of the project escalation costs. Per the September workshop, the total debt service is $739,840,860. "Total debt service" is the total principal and interest that will be paid throughout the life of the bond, per Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.
Watchdog invites people to attend our board meetings. Many residents have been appearing and presenting public comments to demand spec ed reform, funding accountability and correction of other issues, but because the meetings are not televised, and audio recordings are not posted like other districts, much of what is being done goes unnoticed. If you do attend, you might see one of the long term board members sticking her tongue out at speakers or rolling her eyes at other board members while they try to speak. Sound a little dramatic? That’s because it is. We lack real leadership and innovation in the District. Help Reinvigorate SDUHSD.
Link to Prop AA workshop presentation
Link to Bond Measure Language