Conflicting views over $150 million school bond on November ballot
■ Robin Underwood / Contributed
A $150 million school bond measure is back on the table for the Hemet Unified School District board to either approve or deny its presence on the November ballot.
The bond has had a great deal of analysis and multiple surveys have been conducted to test its viability and ratings of approval by FM3, an organization hired to assist in reserving the measure’s spot on this year’s voting agenda. In 2016, the bond was initially introduced to the board, but was denied in part due to two other school bonds being voted on by the public in that year’s ballots.
The school board has held multiple public meetings in regards to the measure, but very little has been said by residents in regards to the bond itself. Surveys have been conducted on 681 residents and one resident, Chuck Moore, wrote a letter on his opinion of how the surveys were written, showing a distaste for how the surveys were conducted.
Moore holds a BSBA in Business Administration and claimed that the surveys were highly biased in favor of the bond, and did not hold a neutral tone when asking the questions, as he said surveys should always be composed. He went on to explain that the firm FM3 “did not appear to have our bests interests at heart,” claiming that the firm was hired to misrepresent the school bond and what it will really do, citing that the surveys mentioned that the “teachers would get a raise in pay with the bond issue,” and “that is an entirely different issue from what they say they are asking for.”
HUSD has been open when it comes to explaining the measure and its proposed items for taking action on several concerns including repairs in infrastructure, up-to-date technology and college readiness for all students in the district. However, when attending the school board meetings, it has been said by board members that the discussion on the measure amongst voters relies mostly on topics that include safety. Looking at survey results, safety was an item with the highest approval rating across the board.
Chuck Moore has asked Hemet residents to ask as many questions about the questions themselves on the surveys conducted mentioning how in his statistics class, students were shown how to rig surveys and to “lie with truth, but bogus, facts.”
A third of district classrooms and school facilities are over 40 years old, many of which do not meet 21st Century education and technology standards, and require health, safety and handicap accessibility improvements. Even though Hemet resident Moore agrees that the district is in need of a great deal of repairs and renovations, he doesnt think this bond will be what gets it done, stating that the bond has, “too much pork and side issues involved…it is one thing to repair and improve upon an outdated system. However, this bond goes beyond that simple purpose.”
Whether or not the public agrees with Moore’s opinion and critique of the district’s bond proposal and surveys, residents can attend the school board meetings gain more information on the measure, and form their own opinion before the board makes its final decision. The next and final school board meeting regarding this topic will be held on July 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hemet Unified School District off Acacia Avenue in the boardroom.