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Analysis: $1 Billion Later, San Diego Schools Still Need Fixing

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Analysis: $1 Billion Later, San Diego Schools Still Need Fixing
Analysis: $1 Billion Later, San Diego Schools Still Need Fixing GUEST: Ashly McGlone, investigative reporter, Voice of San Diego

San Diego voters are well known for their frugality. Getting new revenues from Texas or bond measures is usually an uphill climb. But there are exceptions cost school bond measures especially those fixing dilapidated school conditions are often successful. Known a new report based on Zanaflex -- San Diego unified's apparent placement data finds that city schools aren't worse shape than when there were two multimillion dollar improvement propositions. Joining me is Ashly McGlone. Ashly, welcome to show . There is an industry standard measurement facility Index. The total of all the cost for all the needs to repair and fix what is currently broken across this very big district. They divided by the replacement value of the district. They take the total square footage times what it would currently caused by industry standards to do new construction per square foot that is the percentage they used to do assess if we have good facilities, there conditions, or poor conditions. Is a good index for school? 5% or below is good. 6% to 10% you are in the affairs on. 10% or more is considered poor. And what are we cost San Diego Unified? Presently the current report and figures that we updated say 22.7%. We are deep in the poor sound. San Diego Unified's index is higher now than it was when the bonds were passed. How is that actually possible? That is the conundrum here. They have spent $1 billion out of propositions S and Z. They spend the money, and they have made some improvements. But clearly the index is going up and not down. What is important about that is when they came to voters and said we are struggling with the economic crisis, they could not issue the data is planned. But Z is going to come along and help us deliver. It is not dropping. It is going the other way. Has most of the money gone? I have seen myself, they have done some school renovations. But priorities are a huge part of this. They have prioritize very early on what they call I 21 which puts dose puts iPods in the students hand, Internet access across the district. Those cost money as well, but they don't fix the hole in the roof or remove the asbestos in the floor. How much does San Diego Unified have left of these bonds to use on school repair? The good news is they spent $1 million out of $4.9 million. At least $3.9 million. That is a lot of money. They have started make -- they are going to put the same proportion -- have in front of me I think it is 20% their putting towards major repair and replacement. The rest will go to what they call refreshments of the technology. It has been several years, things are breaking. They are doing Moores Admiral and athletic facilities work . But doesn't do anything to fix what's broken in the classroom. You have families that are enjoying these big new Stadium some Friday night, that the parents are going to the parent-teacher conferences sitting in unventilated classrooms. We contacted San Diego Unified in we have a statement from the dull draw, chief facilities planning and construction officer for San Diego Unified. Back the voice of San Diego story fundamentally misunderstands what is happening in our schools today. To say there is been no improvements is to say our kids be better off without all the new computers we purchase with bond funds. Every child now has a computer. Every classroom now has a Wi-Fi. We are a leader in the student technology. To say our school is not improving is to say that the kids in 2000 classrooms would be better off without the air-conditioning we install. Everyone knows what the measure of real condition is is what are children experience on campus every day. That is a statement from San Diego Unified. What is your response Ashly ? They have spends the money, and it is gone toward electronics. But you see the projections and they say we have a problem that we have 60-year-old buildings that need new plumbing and wiring and roof that needs replaced. Every day we get older, things are continuing to deteriorate. Inflation costs are also going to affected negatively. But when you come to the voters and say we are going to ask for more taxes so we can deliver on our promises, we were get that condition index. Right now it is supposed to be at 17%. A 2020 -- by 2024, rather cut it was supposed to drop into the goods on. Now they are saying we've gone the other direction. Between 2020 and 2028 they will need more money. They are prepared to say they're going to come back for more funds. I think there are voters who put their funds -- things are getting worse con not better. Did you find who might be finding more progress when looking at the schools providing wireless Internet all of which have great importance is roles. But to fix those leaky roofs and the six-year-old classrooms that the prepositions money said that it was going to go to, who is responsible for that? As for his accountability is concerned con when I talked staff a year ago they said the board is the one that sets priorities. They drive the ship. We followed their lead. That is true. Recently when there is a grounds full of people that the air-conditioning wasn't happening fast enough the board said we have other projects. And they can bump that up. Twice year the staff good the board and say we have the sketched out for our priorities. Many times they say thank you guy you're doing a great job and keep at it. That are super inquisitive. Same with the citizens oversight committee. They don't technically have any real power to control the decisions. They can be a squeaky wheel, but it comes down to the board who does have the true power. I've been speaking with voice San Diego reporter Ashly McGlone. You can find her report on the voice of San Diego website . Thank you Ashly . Thanks for having me. [ Music ]

Over the past eight years, San Diego Unified has spent $1 billion to fix city schools.

The money came from two bond measures: Propositions S and Z.

But a story by the online news organization Voice of San Diego says city schools are actually in worse condition today than they were before the ballot propositions.

The reporting is based on the district's latest repair and replacement data.

San Diego Unified sent a statement to KPBS saying the district had spent money putting computers and wireless Internet in classrooms, and that the Voice report suggested the students were better off without those upgrades.

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