Please take a moment of your valuable time to consider with me, the consequences of the vote you will cast on the Coronado Unified School District Measure E.
A NO vote means that:
You have read the Ballot Pamphlet Tax Rate Statement and understand the legal disclaimer in the last paragraph of page 3 wherein it states, that CUSD cannot guarantee the cost to Tax Payers or how many years Measure E property tax hikes will burden all of us. You recognize that this measure will eliminate your Proposition 13 protections— the 1978 measure that provides all other Californians protection under an acquisition-value assessment system with the certainty that property tax burdens will grow no faster than two percent per year—and you are not comfortable that your property taxes would be raised above California state constitutional limits. You are voting to not have a property tax rate increase.
You know about and have reviewed the San Diego – Superior Court case, Uremovic v. CUSD, CN: 37-2013-0006092-CL-BL-CLT, filed June 2013 in which the Coronado school district has been sued for refusing to provide banking statements as required under the Public Information Act. You know that CUSD has stated these statements do not exist because they employ their own unique accounting system. You know that the law firm Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost, LLP is defending this action for which the district has paid them $44,785.64 in legal fees from March 2013 – January 2014. You understand that ongoing legal strategy supports withholding the required bank statements until after the upcoming June election. You understand that Assistant Superintendent and Director of Business Services, Keith Butler, is expected to appear in court for the district’s Motion for Summary Judgment, May 9th at 8:30 am Department C-62, in the Hall of Justice on Broadway in downtown San Diego. You recognize it is becoming more likely that this will not be resolved prior to the June 3rd election and you appreciate that the YES On E campaigners will have this opportunity to continue appealing to Coronado taxpayer sentiments in an effort to convince them that a NO vote is a vote against children. You will be holding firm in your demand for accountability and transparency.
A YES vote means that:
You have knowledge of the contents and ramifications of the budget study workshops and are satisfied with the District’s explanations of how they have expended funds. You believe you understand and agree with the specific projects for which the bond money will be used. You identify with and support the tax increases sought by the school board and city council elected officials. You support their fiscal planning agenda and fully understand that it is an agenda which includes controversial prior bond debt incurred by some of the same elected officials.
You rationalize the results of a CUSD June 30, 2012 audit report, prepared by Christy White Associates, San Diego, California, and agree to accept a lack of monetary accountability as the District’s normal operating procedures. You understand and accept that the same audit identified significant deficiencies in internal controls over financial reporting in areas of payroll, cash disbursements, cash receipts, credit card transactions and funds concerning associated student body at the middle and high schools.
There will always be politics played out on both sides of the fence and there will never be universal acceptance for any decision put before the voters. To the best of our abilities we should keep the dialogue objective and elevated above personal attacks, finger pointing, and personalities. How each one of us votes should be based on our personal criteria, our values, and our level of satisfaction with the answers to the most important and basic questions. The level of fiscal pain we are willing to endure and the belief that it is necessary that it even be endured, ultimately rests with the extent of personal trust we place in our elected district and city officials. If their actions give you reason to believe that trust has been violated, how long should we continue handing over our hard-earned dollars?
Thank you for reading this and for learning why I am voting NO on Measure E.
Alexandra Bry, Esq.