Elections are about choices. When Del Mar and Carmel Valley residents cast votes on Prop CC on Nov. 6, we will be making a choice that will have a profound impact on our schools, our students and our community for many years to come. A “Yes” vote provides our local schools with a protected source of locally-controlled funding that can only be used for our local schools. A “No” vote leaves our local schools depending on Sacramento to get its act together and adequately fund education. Since Sacramento has been unreliable, virtually all of our neighboring school districts have passed bond measures in support of their local schools.
A column by Marsha Sutton published in this newspaper and online last week blatantly mischaracterized Prop CC and made egregiously false accusations that indicate a limited understanding of this measure and the rules that govern GO bonds. Prop CC is just too important for the 4,353 students who attend the Del Mar Union School District (DMUSD) to let Sutton’s piece stand. Here are the facts.
May Prop CC funds be used to create relief for the District’s General Fund budget? Is this legal?
Yes. The expenditures laid out in the wording of Proposition CC are specifically authorized by Proposition 39, passed by California voters in 2000. Prop 39 is intended to “implement class size reduction, (and) to ensure that our children learn in a secure and safe environment.” While Proposition 39 bond funds cannot be applied to teacher or staff salaries or benefits, they can cover any building and facility needs that might otherwise need to be paid for out of the District’s General Fund. As such, a legal and legitimate use of Proposition 39 bond measure funds — like Proposition CC — is to relieve financial pressure on a school district’s general fund. This is why it has become common practice for school districts to use bond funds to maximize the efficient use of scarce instructional funding.
Does Prop CC address immediate and critical needs? Aren’t our schools in good shape?
Our local schools are in relatively good shape. Should we wait until they are falling apart to plan for their upkeep and repair? Can we expect our schools to remain among the best in California if we let them degrade and allow mounting facilities costs to errode funds for educational expenditures?
Of course not.
Prop CC represents forward-thinking planning to accomplish two important objectives: (1) address safety and infrastructure needs without taking money from instructional programs that already suffer from budget cuts, and (2) secure a stable source of locally controlled funding to maintain our classrooms, implement modern technology and maintain quality schools in the years to come. Bear in mind that this bond will carry us decades into the future, when all of our schools will be in need of upgrades and maintenance. This is why many school districts build a general obligation bond funding program to extend over a number of years.
Will Prop CC pay for technology with a short lifespan?