- MEASURE Q: "To improve student health, safety and educational quality, shall the Los Angeles Unified School District: continue repair/upgrade of aging/deteriorating classrooms, restrooms; upgrade fire/earthquake safety; reduce asbestos, lead paint, air pollution, water quality hazards; build/upgrade specialized classrooms students need to meet job/college requirements; improve classroom Internet access by issuing $7 billion in bonds, at legal interest rates; with guaranteed annual audits, citizens’ oversight, no increase in maximum tax rate?"
When the district asked voters to approve Measure Q in 2008, they presented the bond measure as one that would provide funds for construction. In fact, they provided a list of the “District Capital Priorities” that would be funded with the $7 billion in bond authorizations. Since a capital project is defined as a “long-term investment project requiring relatively large sums to acquire, develop, improve, and/or maintain a capital asset (such as land, buildings, dykes, roads),” it is not surprising that “supplies” or “materials” were not included in this list. Based on this information, 69.11% of the voters approved the measure.
While iPads may be a worthwhile investment in our children’s future, they should not be considered a capital item. Therefore, it is very concerning that the district is planning on purchasing these devices with the use of bond funds. While the bonds will be paid for over a period of 25 years, “the useful lifespan of an iPad is little more than a couple of years.” Bond money is not free since these funds must be paid back, with interest, through the general fund. Taxpayers will be paying for these devices long after they have been sent to the electronic waste recycler. If our children need this technology, we will need to find a way to pay for it in full through today’s general fund.
Unlike technological devices with a short life, building new facilities and improving old ones are long term investments that will also give benefits to future taxpayers. It is, therefore, appropriate to fund these projects with bonds. Unfortunately, these funding sources will not be available if we use them for projects not specified in the original measures. Who can blame the taxpayers if they refuse to fund more. Fool me once...
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