HMB Review March 28, 2018

On June 5, 2018 Cabrillo Unified School District voters will vote by mail on Measure M, a $99M school construction bond.

CUSD has sold $58M of the $81M Measure S school construction bonds that voters narrowly approved in June 2012, and has committed or spent $63M, leaving $18M of Measure S remaining. Where did $63M go in under six short years?

Nearly 72% of the Measure S school construction bond spending totaling $45.3M has gone to a single vendor named Blach Construction using six different no bid contracts. On January 19, 2017, the CUSD Board approved the latest no bid contract with Blach Construction, this one for $14.6M for Building C repairs. However this latest no bid contract was not even legal because effective January 1, 2017, AB2316 requires that bids must be obtained for lease lease back construction projects.

The CUSD Board then spent most of 2017 trying to fix this no bid contract to make it legal, all the while apparently not withdrawing the original January 19 no bid contract. In March 9, 2017, the CUSD Board approved a lease lease back RFP criteria with a 100 point rating system. On May 25, 2017, the CUSD Board awarded Blach Construction a perfect 250 out of 250 points in their lease lease back RFP criteria with no explanation for how the criteria had changed since March. On November 9, 2017, the CUSD Board ratified a lease lease back agreement with Blach Construction that has no guaranteed maximum price.

The guaranteed maximum price was the only advantage of using a no bid contract, so now CUSD taxpayers are getting the worst possible deal to fix Building C – a contract with no guaranteed maximum price.

On December 14, 2017, the CUSD Board approved an $509,147 Architecture contract with CAW, who bragged that they have “a long-standing relationship with Blach Construction” and then told us “The project will be developed in partnership with Blach Construction who will lead the project as a lease-leaseback.” Our vendors now are telling us who will execute a construction contract before it has been bid.

All of the reasons the CUSD Board has stated for needing Measure M are simply false:

At least one CUSD Board member has made recent statements that we have $246M in projects. On August 15, 2013 the CUSD board approved a $91M Facility Master Plan and the Plan has not been updated since. The CUSD Board hasn’t authorized anything like $246M in projects. Clearly we don’t need another $99M bond for projects that don’t exist.

Bond proponents say the money is needed to “Fix leaky roofs”. The aptly titled page “Roofing that should happen ASAP” from the July 23, 2013 CUSD Facility Audit report list four projects totaling $179,000. We know these repairs haven’t been completed because CUSD has only spent a total of $16,970 on roofing repairs since Measure S passed, excluding Building C repairs. Five years later the CUSD Board still has not fixed leaky roofs identified in 2013.

They say it’s needed to “Perform essential safety repairs.” The CUSD Board is implying that our schools won’t be safe without a new $99M bond. However CUSD spent less than $9,600 on safety and security upgrades in fiscal year 2017, the second smallest active Measure S Project that year besides playground equipment.

CUSD would have you believe the money is needed “To update classrooms and science labs in local schools” and “equip classrooms with 21st-century learning technology.” The CUSD Board just authorized $4M in technology spending in Measure S. As early as June 4, 2015 the district was concerned that they “not end up with too many devices” from all this spending. We’ll be paying for those 4000 Chromebooks and tablets we just bought until the year 2047.

How about “Replace aging heating / plumbing.” There’s more than enough Measure S money left to fix the heating and plumbing items identified in the July 23, 2013 CUSD Facility Audit report.

The CUSD Board has failed to perform critical due diligence and ask if we could afford another $99M school construction bond. Debt on another proposed $99M of bonds would take our total debt to $325M just for these two school construction bond measures, or $38,678 per Coastside household.

Your family’s property taxes will be so high they won’t even be legal without a waiver from the State of California!
Cabrillo USD can’t sell that many bonds without a waiver because the Coastside can’t afford it.
California Education Code 15270 protects taxpayers from ruinous taxes levied by school boards.
In the last 12 months only five out of the 330 unified school districts in the state received bond waivers from the California Department of Education.
One of those districts had two seismically deficient elementary schools.
Cabrillo USD would shamefully join the very short list of school districts with crushing tax rates if Measure M passes.

In a district where 45% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, how are families supposed to come up with an average of $38,678 for these bonds?

Visit and @VoteNoOnMeasureM on Facebook for more details on what the CUSD Board has been doing with your tax money.

Ballots will be mailed out the week of May 7, must be postmarked by Election Day June 5 and received by June 8.

Register to vote by May 21 and Vote No On Measure M!

Marshall Ketchum