Editorial: School builders enlist California Legislature to protect their wallets
August 19, 2015 | By The Bee Editorial Board | www.FresnoBee.com
• Latest shock wave from Fresno Unified leaseback ruling reverberates through state Capitol
• Emergency legislation in Assembly would protect builders who entered into illegal leaseback contracts
EXCERPT: ... The state Legislature, at the behest of construction industry lobbyists, is desperately scrambling to mitigate the potential fallout of an appellate court ruling against Fresno Unified School District. The court sent shock waves throughout California when it said Fresno Unified’s leaseback contract with Harris Construction to build Rutherford B. Gaston Middle School violated competitive-bidding and conflict-of-interest laws. The district has appealed the ruling to the California Supreme Court, which soon will decide whether to hear the case. We urge the high court to take up the district’s appeal and bring clarity to the legality of the controversial leaseback contracts, which are used by districts to avoid competitive bidding. Contractors, meanwhile, are up in arms about the consequences if leaseback contracts similar to the model used by Fresno Unified are upheld as illegal. This is because California’s “disgorgement” law calls for contractors to pay back all money if they entered into an illegal contract. ...
... San Diego attorney Kevin Carlin, who represented Fresno contractor Stephen Davis in the lawsuit against Fresno Unified, wants the construction money returned to the schools in instances where illegal leaseback deals were used.He also is critical of lawmakers taking Assembly Bill 975, which originally sought to set up a system for rating bidders for construction contracts, and turning it into a bill that would protect leaseback contractors who completed their projects before July 1 of this year.“Now that the contractors have been caught with their hand in our schools’ cookie jar, they are asking Sacramento legislators via last minute gut-and-amend language that is retroactive to let them keep all the cookies they have taken from our schools under their illegal contracts,” Carlin said in an email. ...
Statewide Report Criticizes Passage of School Bonds
July 24, 2015 | By Mackenzie Mays | www.fresnobee.com
HIGHLIGHTS: - California Policy Network says bonds create massive debt, conflicts of interest
- School officials say bonds are necessary to build best facilities for students...
EXCERPT: More than 80% of proposed school bond measures - about $110 billion - have passed in California since 2001 after Proposition 39 reduced the voter threshold required for approval, according to a new report from the California Policy Center. (Executive Summary) While bonds have allowed hundreds of districts to build and renovate facilities over the past decade, the California Policy Center - a nonprofit think tank - claims that in some cases, school bonds are unnecessary, and their increasing prevalence is leading to massive debt. The report calls for more oversight and a push for transparency regarding bond issues, saying many voters don't have a clear picture of what they're approving. Bonds also perpetuate conflicts of interest with contractors who would benefit from their approval, according to the report. "With each successive bond passage, California's fiscal situation worsens," said Ed Ring, executive director of the California Policy Center, who co-wrote the report. "Propped up by dark money, complexity and a political-industrial-financial complex, these bonds are passed off as free money 'for the kids.' But they are little more than massive fiscal obligations, meaning the only thing 'for the kids' is the massive tax bill that awaits." The report urges state legislators to make campaign contribution reports related to bond measures more accessible to the public and to prohibit contractors and other potentially self-interested corporations from being involved in a bond's passage. ... California voters could be asked next year to approve an additional statewide bond measure that would allow the state to borrow $9 billion for K-12 and community college facilities. Gov. Jerry Brown has fought against the measure, calling for change in how state and local governments fund school construction. ... To read the complete article, please visit:
For the Kids: California Voters Must Become Wary of Borrowing Billions More from Wealthy Investors for Educational Construction (Full Report): http://californiapolicycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/07/CPC_School_Bond_Study_July_2015.pdf
CaLBOC 4th Annual
May 19, 2015 - Tuesday
10:00am - 3:00pm
CaLBOC May 9, 2014 Statewide Conference Presentation:
Pay to Play in School Bond Measures What it is and
Why it is Wrong
Presented by Lori Raineri of Governmental Financial Strategies www.CaLBOC.org
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