A massive new school bond could move closer to being placed on the November ballot tonight, with a vote expected by Anaheim Union High School District board members.
Yet the meeting’s agenda says it’s missing the documents up for approval tonight on the $249 million bond, such as the measure’s text.
Those trying to find such details in the agenda are met with a notice on page 20 saying they’re unavailable:
For those who know to scroll to page 233, some records are available: the proposed resolution, the measure’s text and a project list.
However, a funding breakdown for the projects is not available, nor are the anticipated total interest payments.
District spokeswoman Pat Karlak couldn’t be reached for comment.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the district’s headquarters (501 N. Crescent Way, Anaheim)
School district officials say the bond is needed to cover some of more than $1 billion in needed improvements to facilities.
“We’re looking at basic renovations to keep our students safe, along with giving them classroom tools and modern classrooms so that we can provide them a 21st-century education,” school board member Al Jabbar told the Orange County Register.
AUHSD’s last bond program, the $330-million Measure Z, faced widespread accusations of mismanagement, including by auditors later hired by the district.
One forensic audit found that “the District’s procedures are inadequate to control and monitor the Measure Z program and the procedures that are in place are not followed consistently,” according to a summary in a grand jury investigation.
“There is no standardized financial or budgetary reporting for Measure Z funds,” the audit also found.
Cost overruns led to a $49 million shortfall, according to the LA Times.
School bonds have also sparked controversy statewide in recent years, amid revelations that taxpayers were sometimes on the hook for paying back up to 10 times the borrowed amount.
Under that scenario, $30 million construction project would cost taxpayers $300 million.
A new law approved last fall limits total payments on those “capital appreciation bonds” to 400 percent of the borrowed amount.
In the case of Measure Z, the construction work became the target of a criminal probe by the district attorney’s office and is attributed to the ouster of at least one superintendent.
After the revelations, then-County Supervisor Lou Correa, who had helped get the bond measure passed, said the district had violated the trust of voters, the Times reported.
The grand jury laid blame at the board members who served during the bond’s construction period in the mid-2000s.
“The AUHSD Board of Trustees lacked the training and expertise to properly oversee the entire Measure Z program,” the panel wrote.
“The majority of the Trustees had no experience in construction, capital program management, and related financial matters, and when the Measure Z program began to move into the construction phase, the Board became dysfunctional in dealing with the program.”
Oversight did improve after the mismanagement disclosures, the grand jury noted.
You can reach Nick Gerda at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.
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