(Los Alamitos, 8/15/2013) Before the OC Register had even released today’s shocking report, “Los Al schools boost taxes to repay construction loans,” our Thursday columnist had already written the following post, revealing more of the ugly details. He first reported on this last December (see “My Kids & Grandkids will pay”), making him the first to break this shocking story!
by “Highlands Guy:” According to the Los Alamitos Unified School Building Fund (Measure K) Balance Sheet we took on General Obligation Bonds of $126,000,000. The first $27,000,000 issued in 2009 (Series 2009), with interest, will turn into a taxable debt of $49,295,126 by 2034.
In October 2010 (Series 2010B) the District issued another $2,000,032 in bonds. The total obligation of $2,228,810 will become $6,596,190 thru 2035. Also in October 2010 a bond (Series 2010C) was issued to the tune of $2,000,000. This one will grow to $4,918,700 by 2036.
In February 2011 the District issued an additional $19,000,000 in bonds (Series D). By 2026 the total will be $35,696,353. In August 2011 Bond Anticipation Notes of $18,721,095 were issued. With a 2017 maturity date, the debt will be up to $21,750,000.
And just last month, the District sold $51.39 million of the Measure K, Series E Bonds. To date they have used $101.29 million in bonds and $19 million in State Matching Funds. With this most recent issuance, the “projected” (but no necessarily) tax rate will be $54.44, but could go up to $60.00, per $100,000 of assessed valuation…for the next 24 years.
If I’m understanding the data (I would not be adverse to having someone out there checking my numbers and let me know if I’m wrong) it appears that because of my yes vote I am passing on a whole bunch of debt my children and grandkids. I’m pretty much a chicken, so I’ll let the wife tell them when they’re old enough.
2008: Measure K revisited:
So, let’s get in the way-back machine and go back to 2008 and the selling of Measure K. One of the highlights (Los Alamitos K.I.D.S 2008, wildprogrammer.com) was that the annual property assessment will be $34.75 per $100,000 of assessed value. Well 5 years later and that’s already out the window. It goes on about how the state was holding our, already paid, tax money ($19 million) hostage until we passed this measure.
Highlighted in their marketing piece also was:
“Q. I don’t have kids in school; why should I support Measure K?
A. …The WSJ recently published a study identifying property values in Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach…least affected by the real estate downturn because of the quality…at LAUSD.
Some homeowners may not have children…in the District, however…Good schools maintain high property values. If we fail to renovate and upgrade our schools, our communities’ quality of life is affected.”
The Liesure World Exemption:
This was immediately followed by an explanation why the LAUSD exempted our good neighbors in Leisure World, once again, from the tax supporting the next generation. Is it because they are too old? I think not. Is it because they are too poor? Hardly. Is it because they will not benefit from better educated neighbors? Again a no. And the bottom line is that there are almost as many fine folks in LW as in Los Alamitos. That sure would have softened the blow to the rest of us schlumps.
Breaking campaign law:
Permit me a slight digression, before I forget, but not directly relevant to the thrust of my rant. I must note just one more quickie from back in the day, that at the time were not questioned by any of our crack political or social analysts. 1) LAUSD and local teachers trying to sell Measure K requested and got the high school marching band to play in their rally at The Shops at Rossmoor. 2) The group pushing the Measure used the offices and phones in the CIF building on Pine to call and urge a yes vote. Both activities not permitted under California statutes.
Something else that was not brought up during the push to pass the school bond was the previous Measure K, which was passed by a 3-1 margin in 1990. An L A Times article dated April 4, 1990, noted that local property taxes would be raised “$4.50 a month for the next 25 years.” The repairs, including electrical systems, leading roofs, heating and air conditioning, plumbing and general rehabilitation, are scheduled to be “made over the next 15-20 years. So, does that mean we are still paying on that one and do the two Measures overlap in time and affect? If I’m missing something and if someone could clear this up I’d sure appreciate it. [Today's Register article clears it up. . . According to the Register, that per parcel tax will be up to $576 per parcel by the time the bonds are finally paid off in 2042.]
I realize, of course, that a good roof, a solid mechanical and technical infrastructure, can enhance the learning environment. But as noted in a May 12, 2013 article in the Orange County Register, quoting LAUSD staff, “Training all teachers…in Thinking Maps (a visual strategy for organizing thoughts and notes) is one way of ensuring students throughout the district are getting ..top-notch instruction.” And Sherry Kropp said, “We expect every student…to get the best …we know.”
So, let me understand this. LAUSD has been taxing most, though not all, of the local folks a premium over and above that collected and doled out by the State of California since 1990.
And it now appears that the tax burden will increase further than originally touted.
And how much of this money went to the teachers that are the most important component in the educational process of getting the students to think, passing on culture’s accumulated knowledge and how to make informed decisions? [Answer: Not one cent!]
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
- Henry Adams (1838-1918) Journalist, historian, academic. Great grandson of John
…And that’s just the way I see it.
As always, your perspective is welcome, as long as you express it diplomatically and in family friendly language!
Click here for our report on the Register’s article, which was apparently released shortly after “Highlands Guy” completed writing this post.