Calaveras School Superintendent Misleads Public on Taxes

I hate it when a government official lies.  It is even worse when it is someone in charge of children, lying to the parents (by omission). 

“The proposition voters are seeing on the March primary ballot would authorize $15 billion in bonds for school and college facilities in California. Of the funding, $9 billion would be allocated for preschool and kindergarten through 12th-grade schools; $4 billion for universities; and $2 billion for community colleges.

The K-12 portion would be divvied out as follows: $2.8 billion for new construction of school facilities; $5.2 billion for modernization of school facilities; $500 million for providing school facilities to charter schools and $500 million for facilities for career technical education programs.

In determining eligibility for matching funds through the school facilities program, the state would prioritize projects that pose health or life safety hazards and applications from financially challenged districts. That replaces the current system of approval on a first-come, first-served basis.

What the Superintendent is leaving out is that the local districts do not have the funds to match the State funds in Prop. 13.  To get the ,matching funds, those districts, in November will put local school bonds on the ballot.  Worse, to get the matching funds local workers that do not pay bribes to unions will not be allowed to work on the projects they are financing.   It is time to vote No on a measure that officials lie about.

School leaders: Prop 13 won’t lead to higher property taxes for Calaveras residents

By Davis Harper, Calaveras Enterprise,  2/20/20   

The only statewide proposition on the March primary ballot has stirred up some confusion in recent weeks.

Although property taxes in communities outside of Calaveras County could increase to fund rehabilitation and construction of school facilities as a result of Proposition 13, county residents shouldn’t be concerned, local superintendents say.

To quell concerns, the proposition is not a repeal of the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation (also called Prop 13), a landmark measure that passed in 1978 to limit property tax increases.

That said, amendments to the original Prop 13 that would increase property taxes on commercial and industrial properties will be on the November 2020 ballot. Under that measure, called the California Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative, commercial and industrial properties would be taxed based on their market value, rather than their purchase price.

The proposition voters are seeing on the March primary ballot would authorize $15 billion in bonds for school and college facilities in California. Of the funding, $9 billion would be allocated for preschool and kindergarten through 12th-grade schools; $4 billion for universities; and $2 billion for community colleges.

The K-12 portion would be divvied out as follows: $2.8 billion for new construction of school facilities; $5.2 billion for modernization of school facilities; $500 million for providing school facilities to charter schools and $500 million for facilities for career technical education programs.

In determining eligibility for matching funds through the school facilities program, the state would prioritize projects that pose health or life safety hazards and applications from financially challenged districts. That replaces the current system of approval on a first-come, first-served basis.

The state has traditionally helped pay for new academic facilities when areas are growing in enrollment and renovating facilities when a building’s components are deemed unreliable or a safety hazard is identified, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).

Thus, costs covered in the measure include those of lead removal from water supplies and earthquake- and fire-safety improvements, among others.

The state, according to the LAO, would pay $11 billion in interest out of its General Fund over 35 years, making the total price tag $26 billion, or $740 million annually.

The proposition would also change how state bonds are distributed to local districts, the rules governing local bond measures and school districts’ abilities to assess developer fees.

School district bond caps would be nearly doubled, which could result in increased property taxes when local districts issue bond measures for facility improvements.

The measure has drawn rebuke from taxpayer groups like the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association. Jon Coupal, president of the group, argues in a Feb. 10 San Diego Union Tribune opinion piece that property owners shouldn’t bear the brunt of school facilities upgrades while the state has a $7 billion budget surplus.

There’s also been a backlash to a provision of the bill that would prioritize projects that use a project labor agreement, a pre-hire agreement with labor organizations that establishes terms and conditions of employment for a construction project, which typically increases construction costs.

According to Ballotpedia, a nonpartisan elections website, Proposition 13 has received support from Gov. Gavin Newsom, dozens of state legislators, the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers, the California Charter Schools Association, the California Building Industry Association, the California Business Roundtable and California Chamber of Commerce, among others.

Calaveras Unified School District (CUSD) Superintendent Mark Campbell said the potential funds from Prop 13 would be a key component in helping the district address its “significant facility needs.”

The measure would have “zero impact on local property taxes,” Campbell added.

CUSD is hoping to pass a bond on the November ballot to fund the construction of Career Technical Education classrooms at Calaveras High School (CHS), a new gym at Toyon Middle School, track and field facilities at San Andreas Elementary School, new turf on the multi-use playing field at CHS, and tennis court renovations at CHS, among other projects.

Campbell said some improvements are needed at every site in the district, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning; roofing issues; safety and security issues, technology upgrades; classroom modernization; and multi-purpose room upgrades.

The district plans on generating $28 million with a $40 tax per every $100,000 in assessed value of taxable property to pay for that.

Prop 13 would provide $13 million in extra monies to allow the district to address more projects, separate from local bond funds, Campbell said.

Although Bret Harte Union High School District doesn’t have any major renovations or new construction planned in the near future, Superintendent Michael Chimente voiced support for the bond measure as well.

“Our students need to be educated in the best facilities possible and a district should always strive to have that be one of their goals,” Chimente said.

District voters approved an $18 million bond measure in 2008 to build a two-story science classroom building and multipurpose building, among other improvements.

Chimente added that he’s confident that Bret Harte should be able to accommodate potential increases in enrollment from planned developments in Copperopolis without new construction. 

That’s based on the average number of high school students that have been generated from new subdivisions in the past, Chimente said.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Two words…CASH COW…
    That money will never see the light of day as far as helping schools. It will however line pockets, correct mismanagement of other areas such as pensions.
    California, do your research. 15 billion is a lot of money that you will eventually pay for. Wake up!!! Democrats want more and more. And they won’t stop until you stop them. Be accountable. VOTE.

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