A long list of businesses involved in school facilities construction are have been making large donations to the campaign to pass Measure M, the infamous “Billion Dollar Bond” placed on the November ballot by the Capistrano Unified School District.
To date, the “Yes on M, Save Capistrano Unified School District 2016” campaign committee has raised $270,500 from construction companies, architectural firms, engineering firms, construction management companies, plumbers, asphalt companies, etc. – all entities that stand to benefit financially from passage of the giant school bond.
Click here for an Excel sheet of Measure M donors.
Many of these firms are also members of CASHNET: California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing. CASHNET is an association of school districts and businesses that promote the passage of school facilities bonds. A number of Measure M donors are also pouring money into school construction bond measures in Orange County.
Measure M is also strongly supported by the local teachers union – the Capistrano Unified Education Association – which has donated significant funding, as well as office space, to the “Yes on M” campaign. Passage of Measure M would benefit the CUEA by enabling the union-friendly school board to transfer funds from capital expenditures and into increased pay and benefits for union members.
What is almost totally absent from the “Yes on M” committee’s campaign disclosures are donations from regular folks who live in CUSD. Such donations are a good indicator of whether a ballot measure enjoys grass roots support.
Measure M would authorize an $889 million bond for school facilities construction and modernization – hence the “Billion Dollar Bond” moniker – although the actual, final cost to taxpayers would be closer to $1.8 billion. The plan for spending this enormous sum is a long, loose list of school site improvements such as “water fountains” or “add new library/media center at Newhart MS.” However, there is no breakdown of bond funding by school site, by type of facility improvement, or any other way. Measure M is a pretty blank as checks go.
Measure M is opposed by a grass-roots coalition of South Orange County businesses and taxpayer advocates, as well as local elected officials and legislators.