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Three Education Bonds On The Ballot In North San Diego County

Aired 9/17/12 on KPBS News.

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.

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Avatar for user 'gaiamoth'

gaiamoth | September 17, 2012 at 5:58 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

I love these taxpayer groups that say "no more taxes" to any bond out there. They seem to have no clue about what is really happening out there. As a community, what recourse do we have?

We cant seem to control the perpetual problem at the State level that keeps taking our tax dollars out of the hands of our education coffers. If we set aside school bond monies, then that money is dedicated to education funding only. The State cant touch it. I would think taxpayer groups would be in support of this because this is a clear case of you get what you pay for, whereas State govt is a case of "you may pay for it, but there is no guarantee of getting the return on your tax dollar, as the State can abscond with your money and put it to whatever use it wants to."

So the taxpayer group wants the districts to find other ways of dealing with their financial issues. I have a question for them: what cuts would they like to make at my kids' schools to make ends meet? Because that is the "other way". If we dont provide the schools more money (and my vote is for bonds, which the State cannot touch) then we are telling the schools they have to tighten their belt by altering our classrooms. Do I want to see 35 kids in a 4th grade class in my district? Do I want to lose dedicated science instruction or get rid of music instruction? Heck no. Other districts have had to do that, but I think the parents in the Del Mar/Carmel Valley area value education enough to put their wallet where their mouth is and pony up for our schools.

At least with the bonds they know exactly where their tax dollars will be spent.

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