Our board tells us that they are putting the Sports Complex project above all the other explicitly mentioned projects in Measure Z because it's what the voters wanted. The problem is there is nothing to support the claim the voters thought they were having their taxes increased for a football stadium. No where in the text of the Measure Z proposition or in the “Arguments For Measure Z”, submitted by Sean Balingit, Paula Corcoran (former BTA President) and Russ Bogh (Former Assembly member now running for the State Senate), is there any indication or mention of a sports complex.
The specific projects listed in the text of the measure are grouped in categories such as safety, classrooms, technology, infrastructure, repair, and new construction but no mention of a sports complex. Even in the “Goal and Purpose” of the “New Construction” section there is no word about the construction of a sports complex.
The text of the ballot proposition begins:
“SCHOOL SAFETY; VOCATIONAL EDUCATION; CLASSROOM REPAIR MEASURE To retain/attract excellent teachers, keep students from gangs by upgrading safety, technology security systems, energy efficiency; acquiring land; repairing, constructing, equipping schools/classrooms; adding vocational education/after-school space; fixing leaky roofs; replacing heating/air-conditioning...”
It then continues with an introduction to the “Priority School Project Lists” where the first sentence is:
"The Board of Trustees of the (BUSD) evaluated the District's urgent and critical school needs, including school and student safety, quality teacher recruitment and retention, enrollment trends, class size reduction, relieving high school overcrowding, energy efficiency and computer and information technology, in developing the scope of projects to be funded, as outlined in the Beaumont Unified School District Master Facilities Plan (the "Master Plan"), which is incorporated herein."
The opening statement refers to the district's “Master Plan”. I know what the “Master Plan” is and I know it is available to the public. I haven't seen the one in place at the time of the election and this may be where the district explicitly lists a Sports Complex project but most voters never see the Master Plan. I am sure I am not the only voter who supported the bond measure who would expect a project using 60% of the first $20 million generated by our property tax dollars would at least be mentioned in the text of the measure.
Lucky for voters, I hope, the measure established an Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee. I will watch closely the committee’s reports and audits, it will be interesting to see how they “ensure that funds are spent as promised and specified” on a project that most voters never knew anything about.
Link to the text and arguments of Measure Z provided by The League of Women Voters: