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Should we trust the Hart District?

Posted: October 20, 2008 9:05 p.m.
Updated: December 22, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The Signal's Oct. 12 editorial gave an overview of the lack of financial/spending controls of the William S. Hart Union High School District but concluded local taxpayers should vote for another $300 million bond, Measure SA, anyway. Previous bond construction cost overruns are at least $43 million, with a recently stated figure of $80 million. That is all taxpayer money (Measure V). Hart's superintendent asserts measures exist to preclude such from reccurring, but we have no guarantees.

At the least, we could get a promise that if the current responsible group screws up again, each and every party will promptly resign and not run again for another seat at the table.

Here are a few facts the editorial lacked:

1. The district hired Colbi Inc. to do a cost-overrun audit, but it was not a forensic audit, which would have been much more exposing.

2. At one point, the Measure V Oversight Committee was basically told to butt out when the school board perceived the committee was overstepping its bounds on expenditures.

3. A long-standing accounting firm hired by the Hart district to audit Measure V funds spending was canned when it reported expenditures lacked clear documentation. The newly hired firm reports that all is well.
4. In spite of the purported lack of funds to improve schools, did the district proceed with its plans to spend $90,000 on a public-relations campaign to boost a positive image of itself?

When you look at your recently received property tax bill and get into the voting booth, ask yourself if you are really going to give $300 million to those who couldn't manage the last $158 million you are still paying for.


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