Posts Tagged ‘district of choice’

The Truth About Measure O: What you didn’t vote for, The Measure that will hit you in the face as a taxpayer with a ton of bricks in the coming years!

While the taxpayers are being brought forward with another educational bond with reference to Measure A, the College Repair Bond, we’d like to inform residents about a less debated measure that was on the ballot in 2016 that you passed: Measure O, a $392 million school facilities bond for our local K-12, Riverside Unified School District.  Measure O was to “upgrade and repair aging Riverside schools” according to RUSD’s own propaganda as stated in their flyers (below):

      

  click on image to view flyer                click on image to view RUSD Resolution

This resolution known as Measure O when placed before voters explained it was to upgrade, repair, expand, improve, and better equip classrooms, school buildings, and infrastructure. (image of resolution above).

click to enlarge and read Superintendent’s letter

Incredibly, the Superintendent’s letter to Measure O supporters immediately after its passage read, “Riverside residents are ready to invest in safer, modernized, and updated schools.”  Trustee Tom Hunt would say, “we know the priorities have to be the temporary classrooms have to be replaced with permanent classrooms,”

In an October 22, 2016 article in the Press Enterprise, RUSD Board President Tom Hunt stated, “In placing Measure O on the ballot, school district trustees decided not to provide a detailed list of proposed improvements at each school.  Officials didn’t want to make promises they may have to break later if work becomes more expensive or for other reasons.

District voters last passed a bond in 2001. The $175 million from Measure B funded nine new schools and nearly 40 major improvement projects. The money has run out, though property owners in the district are still paying off the bonds.

One thing was abundantly clear, Measure O was about fixing the problems at Riverside’s existing schools.  Flash forward to 2020: 4 news schools (STEM High School at UCR, $65 million; 3 neighborhood school estimated at $100 million total; and a new $5 million parking lot at King H.S.) are now on an expedited “expanded project list”.  Only one of these projects was listed in Measure O’s list of projects shown to the voters (2016 Long Range Master Facilities Plan, and that was for a STEM high school to be located on the grounds of the existing STEM Academy on Mt. Vernon Ave, NOT on the UCR campus).

The other projects were introduced in the Summer of 2018 (you will find no mention of them in RUSD’s report to its Independent Citizens Bond Oversight Committee as late as April 2018). That’s right: $170 million (of the $392 million guaranteed by local taxpayers through property assessments) is currently being prioritized and directed to school’s, etc. that you never voted for.

In a September 2, 2019 Press Enterprise article, Community Tax Advocate Jason Hunter voiced his concerns to the press, as a member of the Independent Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, in letters to the District, and at Board meetings themselves from the podium. The District’s response? To hide behind two shaky legal opinions they bought and hope the community isn’t paying attention until it’s too late. This was a classic bait & switch, and after exposed, your elected Trustees and their henchmen are in full cover-up mode. They will spend your money on four new schools in a period where they have lost 1,700 students in the past 5 years, and 1,000 in the past 2.

Below is the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee meeting that was held on September 9, 2019.  Why would Committee Member Tina Grande-Field berate committee members as if they don’t know what they are doing?  The original RUSD Measure O Resolution No. 2015.16-56 regarding spending calls for specifics on spending, but when confronted with those facts, she responds as such, and even threatens to leave so as to end the meeting for a lack of quorum!  Was she placed there for a nefarious purpose?  Taxpayers who are afraid to be named for whatever reason, who have contacted me through are email system, are asking if the “fix is in”.  Is this business as usual for RUSD?  Are these “independent citizens’ oversight” meetings being stacked with members favorable to those on the RSUD Board, who have a set agenda to divert funds to pet projects for political gain?  Folks, make no mistake what you see here, is what you will see if you vote for Measure A: no accountability.  The deck is stacked against you by the very elitist status quo who wish to feed on the taxpayer gravy train.

So who is Tina Grand-Field who vehemently attempted to shut down the debate?  The gal who doesn’t like to be looked at according to the video.  For one, she is Assistant Director of Purchasing for the County of Riverside.  Others in our community who pay taxes wonder if she needs a mental evaluation?  According to transparent California she makes $156, 977.14 a year, taking your money.  Her husband Rob Field, also works for the County of Riverside.  His brother John is former Chief of Staff for Supervisor John Tavaglione.  Currently he is the Director of Land Acquisition for the County of Riverside.  Now that we’ve heard her in this video in action, we have to ask the question if she is spending our monies right, or do elitist public workers answer to a higher source?

Down the road, they will spend your money on a high school for the elite in the community, instead of putting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in every high school.  Did you know the District plans on giving 130 slots at STEM Academy/High School to children of UCR faculty who may not even live in the District and pay the accompanying property taxes? 

click on image to enlarge

They will build 3 neighborhood schools, including one that’s a subsidy for a developer, Spring Mountain Ranch, this while many of our kids sit in portables they promised you they’d replace. Incidentally, up in Spring Mountain Ranch, the developer get to advertise low taxes, because RUSD agreed to shift the cost of a new elementary for the housing development, over to all the taxpayers in the district.  Yep that was what they did!

click image to enlarge

Most likely dozens of existing schools will see their funding almost completely cut to make way for the Board’s new priorities.  Thought you were getting technology or security upgrades or a repaired roof at your child’s school? Probably not. And of course all of these new schools will need new teachers, administrators, and annual maintenance. And how will that get paid for? By poaching from surrounding areas through a scheme called District-of-Choice. That’s right! your property taxes will be going to construct new schools for kids of parents who DO NOT PAY these property taxes.  To boot, RUSD will be leasing the property from UCR

In fact, last year on May 7, 2019, the District paid a consulting firm a crushing $400,000 to market RUSD to neighboring regions, money that could’ve been spent on our kids.  Further, why would they feel the need to advertise, especially after asking for the Measure O Bond?

What’s going on at RUSD is a disgrace. What will you do? The trustees are Kathy Allavie, Tom Hunt, Brent Lee (our rep in the Wood Streets), Patricia Locke-Dawson (who’s running for Mayor), and Angelov Farooq. Their contact info is: 951-788-7135, ext. 80417 kallavie@riversideunified.orgthunt@riversideunified.orgblee@riversideunified.orgpdawson@riversideunified.org afarooq@riversideunified.org  Tell them to fix the problems at our existing schools first, and stop spending money on vanity and pet projects, developer giveaways, and high-priced consultants. These people work for us and sometimes need to be reminded of that fact.  Let’s not forget, since they are so bad at efficiently spending money, they will come back to the tax  payer table and ask them for more!

If you would like to hear more of Tax Advocate Jason Hunter on the Issue of the misuse of Measure O Funds, hit this link. The title is Measure O Bond spending being done correctly?  Does anyone even care?

To boot, don’t get the boot with higher property taxes!  VOTE NO ON MEASURE A!

If you have to live within your means, so shouldn’t they? Thank you for visiting our site!

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