October 9, 2018

Who’s watching over the billions of dollars in voter-approved school bond money?

When CA voters lowered the threshold to pass school bonds nearly two decades ago, they opened the floodgates for $133 billion in taxpayer-funded spending to modernize campuses across the state. Crucial to the passage of Proposition 39 in 2000 was the requirement that citizen oversight committees in each school district would watch every dollar of spending like a hawk, with an annual audit to ensure accountability.

Before Californians lowered the vote required from two-thirds to 55 percent, roughly half of the school funding measures passed. Since the law was changed in 2000 — and citizen oversight panels became a requirement — 80 percent of school bonds have been green-lighted by voters who know the importance of schools to their communities and are interested in upgrading aging campuses. But who are the people who comprise the bond oversight committee? Is this the fox guarding the hen house?

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