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Measure H Projects

                     Portables at Loyola School

Portables Not Replaced as Promised

The Measure H approval passed in 1998 included approval to spend $94.7 Million on a broad listing of upgrades to school buildings.  The permission was a blanket approval for the bond money to "construct, acquire and renovate facilities."  The emphasis was on classroom improvements across the entire district which then included 8 schools.  There was also a provision for reopening Covington School which had previously been a district junior high school.  No where was it mentioned that new district offices for administrators would absorb some of the bond funds. By 2003, 70% of the money from the bond had been spent, but there were still 4 of schools which had received no work.  The problem had been that there was no budget of the amount to be spent on the various projects.  We think that a budget for specific distribution of bond money across the planned projects is essential to properly managing so much taxpayer money.

What eventually happened was that almost NO portable classrooms were replaced at any of the schools.  The bond measure had cited the existence of 90 portable classrooms as one of the motivators for passage.  With the funding so tight, the district had to seriously cut back on its plans and in the end, skirted the law to spend $116.5 Million on the upgrades, where the voters had only approved $94.7 Million.  Still, they never were able to replace any portable classrooms, where the goal had been to replace many if not most of the portable classrooms.  Today, even with the 29 full-sized classrooms added at Covington School, there are now at least 117 portables in place in the district.  Covington school serves over 500 students representing about half of the growth in the district population over the last 15 years.   We can attribute perhaps 40 portables to other growth in the district (such as that absorbed by Bullis Charter), meaning that despite Covington reopening, we are still left with 77 portables that were the target of the 1998 bond measure.  There are 77 portables today spread around the 7 elementary schools in LASD (and a few at Egan Jr.High).  The number in 1998 was 90 across all the schools, before any camp schools were set up.

The advantage of a budget is that trade-offs can be made in a knowing responsible manner to preserve the scope of projects promised to the voters, and overages can be avoided.  Below are the projects reported completed as a result of Measure H.

Measure H Projects

 Timeframe     Site    Project Cost
 Cumulative Total
 2000 - 2002
 Egan School
  $ 13,703,224
 
   Covington School
  $ 14,717,795
 
 2001 - 2002
 Blach School
  $ 14,539,550
 
 2000 - 2003
 District Offices, Warehouse
 Corporation Yard
  $  5,287,051
 
 2002 - 2003        
 Almond School
  $ 10,265,841
 
   Springer School
  $  9,554,917
  $ 68,068,378
 2003 - 2004
 Loyola School
  $ 12,418,047
 
   Santa Rita School
  $ 11,638,865
  $ 92,125,290
  2004 - 2005
 Oak School
  $ 10,403,962    
  $102,529,252
  2007 - 2008
 Gardner Bullis School
  $ 13,952,815
  $116,482,067
Source of this table:  LASD 2013-2014 Budget Document.  See image below.



As you can see, by the completion of work, the amount financed had increased by more than $20 Million.  There was a long delay in reaching the final status of completion.  Some very questionable refinancing techniques were used involving the new Wall Street vehicle, the Capital Appreciation Bond.  The net effect was to circumvent the limit approved by the voters, and STILL the district was not able to achieve the full range of projects promised in the bond measure.  Specifically, very little progress was made in getting classes out of portables.

                        Portables at Oak Avenue School