Campaign Against Big AUHSD School Bond Gearing Up

As readers may now, the Anaheim Union High School District has placed a $249 million school bond on the November ballot; from the OCR:

Voters in five cities will decide in November whether to approve a $249 million bond measure aimed at updating 19 aging schools within the Anaheim Union High School District.

The district’s Board of Trustees voted 4-1 Thursday morning to put the measure to voters living within the fourth-largest school district in Orange County, which serves 32,000-plus students from portions of Anaheim, Cypress, Buena Park, La Palma and Stanton.

Consultants Chris Nguyen and Chris Emami of Custom Campaigns are doing the anti-bond campaign, and the Lincoln Club of Orange County is also involved in the effort to defeat the bond. The AUHSD botched its last school bond, wasting millions of dollars. Today, the district is headed by a new superintendent has has never administered a school site, let alone a large, multi-city school district. Neither inspires confidence as to the proper, successful management of a quarter-of-a-billion dollar school bond.

Among those signing the ballot argument against the bond are former AUHSD Trustee Alexandria Coronado and Lincoln Club President Wayne Lindholm.

Of course, there has been the usual pro-bond campaign politicking by the school district. We see the predictable manipulation of students into speaking out in favor of the massive bond issue; for example, in this OC Register article that is prominently featured on the AUHSD website:

In the meantime, a group of students on Monday announced an online petition meant to gather support for fixing up the district’s 19 campuses, mostly made up of middle and high schools. The signatures will be presented July 11, the day the school board is scheduled to decide whether to place the proposed bond measure on the ballot.

“We only go as far as our facilities,” Superintendent Michael Matsuda said. “Never mind competing on a worldwide level, if we can’t compete with kids in south Orange County, then we’re going to be in trouble. I believe that many folks understand that education is vital for our long-term, continued success.”

While it’s generally a positive thing when teenagers take in interest in government in politics, would anyone take a 17-year old’s advice on how to manage their personal or household finances, let alone on the wisdom of a $249 million bond issue (which is actually more than $500 million at the end of the day)?

I would also take issue with Mr. Matsuda’s claim, “We only go as far as our facilities.” If the experience of the past four decades has demonstrated anything, it is that pouring money into the public school system doesn’t result in better educated students. Students can receive a sub=standard education in new, cutting-edge facilities, and receive an excellent education in old facilities (inner city Catholic schools do it all across the country). The most important factors are having motivated, quality teachers in the classroom and parents who spurt their children to listen, learn and apply themselves.  

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