Fuzzy math at AUSD
Is AUSD practicing “new math”? Apparently they cannot compile a basic spreadsheet, which took me 20 minutes to complete, that clearly shows that, coming into 2014, Alameda residents still owe more than $170 million on the Measure C bonds issued in 2004.
The reason so much is owed is because AUSD used so-called Capital Appreciation Bonds, which have caused scandals in Southern California, and which the legislature tightened controls on in 2013. Using these bonds, the $63 million that voters approved in 2004 turned into over $175 million in debt burden for our students, their families and residents. That debt isn’t scheduled to be paid off until 2036.
Compounding the problem, AUSD has never explained how the $17 million in state matching funds were spent. Rather, they prevented the oversight committee from studying and reporting out on those funds.
One consolation is that Margie Sherratt, who contributed to the pro-Measure C campaign in 2004, alongside UBS Securities and Piper Jaffray, who profited from underwriting this questionable bond issue, is now on the school board and will have to deal with the balloon payments which explode this year.
Given the circumstance, AUSD has no business coming back to the voters this year to ask them to take on more debt and further burden the future of our students and their families. AUSD has 17 school campuses for under 10,000 students — they need to reduce and consolidate facilities to lower maintenance costs before asking for any more tax measures.
You can find my version of the spreadsheet at www.saveour cityalameda.org