Taxpayer group questions if MHUSD needs bond money

By Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association

Image result for Silicon Valley Taxpayers AssociationWe encourage everyone to read the MHUSD Facilities Master Plan (FMP).  A comprehensive analysis of the district’s own document reveals some very troubling facts.

The total dollars needed per the FMP to do everything on their wish list is $699,841,000 (page 182).

QUESTION 1: If the total cost of the FMP is $700 million, why a bond measure for $200 million on top of that? On further review of the FMP, they don’t really need $700 million.

The FMP has $28.8 million for Britton Middle School (page 181). But the MFP also says they committed $50 million in 2012 Measure G funds for Britton (page 189). That money does not need to be duplicated in this measure.

QUESTION 2: How can we trust the district to spend this money wisely when their own plan says they needed $28.8 million for Britton but spent $50 Million?

The FMP says they have $93 Million in Measure G funds they have not committed yet (page 189) and there are funds from a statewide Prop 51 fund available with a local match they estimate at $31,408,374 (page 187).  Therefore, those two funds are available to meet this need. Subtracting those three amounts from the $699,841,000 leaves a real need of only $546,661,626.

QUESTION 3: Why do they need $900 million when their own FMP says they need less than $550 Million? The FMP calls for $59,933,000 for Sobrato High School (page 181) yet that campus is just in its 15th school year.

QUESTION 4: Is this proper stewardship of our campuses that every 15 years you need to dump massive amounts of money into it to keep it up? If so, why are we financing the cost with a 30-year bond when the value is only going to last 15 years?

The total amount allocated to the FMP for technology is just $12,729,000 out of the total $700 million FMP (page 182).

QUESTION 5: Where is the commitment to technology that they keep touting?

There is $30 million for classroom modernization plus $174.5 million in new construction for classrooms (page 182). Some of those funds are for construction of a new elementary school. Yet in the FMP they projected out elementary school attendance district wide increasing by just 222 students in the next 10 years (page 18).

QUESTION 6: Why do we need to spend $174.5 million on new classrooms and build a new school for just 222 students?

That’s $786,036 per student. This does not even consider whether everything on the FMP wish list is a proper use of funds or that the school district will be eligible for additional funds from the statewide school bond measure which is projected to pass. Any way you look at this, asking for $900 million when their own FMP reveals they need less than $550 million, is wildly abusive to the taxpayers.

Remember, 100 percent of the numbers cited in this column come from the district’s own FMP.

We must vote no.

Stuart Phillips is the chief financial officer for the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association. Mark Hinkle, the president of the association, contributed to this column.