Monday, September 17, 2012
Some North County voters will find three education bonds on their November ballot. Some anti-tax groups are digging in their heels.
MiraCosta College, San Dieguito Unified and Del Mar Elementary have bond measures on the ballot.
Laura Duzyk of San Diego County’s Office of Education said there’s a reason more schools and colleges are turning to bonds: as money for schools dries up, the state is allowing schools more flexibility on how to use those shrinking funds.
“Deferred maintenance was one of those programs,” she said. “Many districts have taken that money out of necessity - and put it into a classroom so that they can maintain their core instructional programs.”
With less spent on deferred maintenance, schools and colleges are turning to bonds to cover their bricks and mortar needs: to refurbish or build new classrooms.
But Brian Brady of a group called "Stop Taxing Us" said schools and college boards should be finding other ways to deal with their budget shortfalls.
“Too many board members take the easy way out and say let’s just throw a ballot initiative out and whack the taxpayers,” Brady said, ”when what they really have to do is fight Sacramento.“
Brady said the core problem is the way California funds its schools through property taxes sent to Sacramanto. He said people in Carmel Valley will find all three bond measures on their ballot, which will be well over a billion dollars of bonds to be paid back from property taxes.
“They are also not addressing the cost to the student, which is heavily subsidized,” Brady said. “We love the idea of providing affordable education, but the students aren’t even being asked to share in the cost of this, just the taxpayers.”
However, California’s community college fees have gone up from $26 per unit to $46 per unit in the last three years. Two-thirds of students at MiraCosta College apply for financial aid to help them pay those fees.