Position Facts: September 12, 2020 Release

FACT CHECK: In light of recent misinformation arising during the 2020 campaign season, I offer facts on the following topics:
Mello-Roos
Measure P Facilities Bond
Santaluz Surplus Site

Mello-Roos

• The California legislature passed the Mello-Roos Community Facilities (CFD) Act of 1982, which became law in January of 1983. The terms Mello-Roos and CFD are interchangeable
• This act allows local governments to establish a Mello-Roos special tax assessment district in a developing area to finance specific public facilities and services needed by that particular area, including fire stations, libraries, schools, and city services infrastructure
• For schools, the special taxes collected are used to pay off the bonds associated with those school construction projects needed to accommodate the students in the area, similar to a mortgage for a homeowner
• The special taxes are not assessed in advance of unplanned future construction
• Poway Unified School District has a CFD program that includes 38 CFDs and Improvement Areas
• In June of 2020, I voted to approve a Special Tax Reduction Plan, which will result in $1.1 Billion in savings to our PUSD taxpayers, but bring no additional savings or revenue to the school district

Measure P Facilities Bond

• CA is 38th nationally in public education funding; PUSD is the lowest funded Unified School district in the county
• CA does not provide facilities funding and communities must pass bonds for facilities improvements and repairs
• PUSD started the process for a school safety and facilities needs assessment, with community committee input, in 2018, culminating in a 15-year Facilities Master Plan, approved in 2020
• Measure P was the first facilities bond for the community in 10 years and could have raised about $448 million to address significant maintenance deferment and safety issues
• Measure P would have cost the typical homeowner about $200/year
• Measure P was put on the ballot with unanimous support of the PUSD Board of Education and bipartisan support including SD Taxpayers Association, SD County Democratic Party, Palomar Council PTA and the Poway Federation of Teachers
• Measure P needed 55% voter approval to pass, but failed at 50.35%
• PUSD is now forced to use general fund money to make critical repairs throughout the district, compounding already existing budget challenges, due to the way schools are funded in CA

Santaluz Surplus Site

• The Black Mountain Ranch Southern Site (Santaluz) was acquired as mitigation for enrollment impacts due to new developments
• PUSD has never proposed building a school on this site to date and all enrollment has been accommodated at other District schools
• The Santaluz site was designated surplus in 2012 and redesignated in 2019 with full due diligence
• PUSD does not have sufficient funds to build, maintain, or operate a new public school, nor do our enrollment projections justify construction of a new school, in fact we have a structural deficit in our general fund, due to rising costs of public education outpacing funding provided by the state
Public discussions for this site have taken place in May 2019, June 2019, August 2019, November 2019, and January 2020
• On Sept 10th, 2020, offers from the November 2019 public Request for Proposals were brought to the board to select one offer and enter negotiations, after Measure P failed.
• During the September 10th 2020 meeting, the board was asked to vote on entering into negotiations for ground lease terms with Costco, the most beneficial offer – a lease would generate ongoing general funds from a non-tax source
• I abstained on the vote because my vote would not change the outcome and an abstention would preserve my ability to represent the community, should the item come to the planning board
• To avoid any violation or perceived violation of the serial meeting  section of the Brown Act, publicly discussing my position on an item coming to the board for a vote is discouraged
• During the meeting, I supported pausing action and communicating the need to the public, with the board ultimately supporting a FAQ page on the District website
• The September 10th Board vote initiates negotiating terms with Costco. The Board will vote at a future meeting whether to accept or reject the final lease terms negotiated
• I have requested staff to offer a virtual town hall or community meeting, but have been told that the FAQs cover all of the questions being asked by the community
• I have served on the Rancho Peñasquitos Planning Board since 2015 and the School Board since 2016 and this is the first time there was a potential conflict, however, there have been many benefits, since I am aware of developments, easements, and infrastructure work that can impact our schools