Imagine a contractor provided you with a bid for a major remodeling and expansion project for your home, with a long list of changes to be made to your home, and a huge budget. You asked for a break-down of how much of the budget was allocated to each particular part of the project, so you can vet the bid. The contractor shrugs and replies: “Sorry, I can’t tell you that. You’ll just have to trust me that this is how much it costs to do the job.”
That basically sums up proposed Capistrano Unified School District’s proposed Measure M school bond – with the district in the contractor’s role. Measure M is a gigantic bond: if passed, it would ultimately cost CUSD taxpayers $1.8 billion dollars – which is a staggering sum of money. As one Measure M critic has said, for that kind of money Capo Unified could build an entirely new school district from scratch.
The sheer size of the bond vividly illustrate how unrestrained the budgetary appetites of the CUSD Board of Trustees, the district administration and the teachers union have become. Opponents of Measure M do not dispute the need for repairing and renovating aging school facilities. However, they do oppose the inordinate, unnecessary magnitude of the bonded indebtedness with which CUSD seeks to saddle residents. They also rightly reject the vague descriptions and fuzzy assurances from the Measure M proponents as to how this gigantic bond issue would be spent. Who in their right mind would do business on such a basis?
Trust is the operative term here. There is simply no reason to trust the current administration of Capo Unified with such a vast store of taxpayer wealth. Their untrustworthiness stems not only from the immoderate, excessive size of the bond – $1.8 billion? Really? – but the vindictive behavior of the CUSD Board of Trustees, which is suing two local elected officials for publicly opposing Measure M. That is chilling display of anti-democratic instincts that has no place in American government.
There are community leaders who would be supportive of a smaller, more reasonable, transparent and strictly structured school bond. Measure M is too big, too vague and too expensive. Capo Unified voters should vote “No” on Measure M.