College Bond Reporting Receives ‘Perfect Score’

August 9, 2017

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Photo Courtesy of Southwestern College

Six out of 23 school districts in San Diego with active bond programs received a perfect score for transparency, among those was Southwestern College.

The San Diego Taxpayers Educational Foundation conducts research related to issues that are relevant for taxpayers such as transparency. The foundation released a transparency scorecard in July, noting that only six school districts provided all reports and information required.

The website for Proposition R was reviewed by the foundation for Southwestern College and received a score of 100 percent.

On November 4, 2008, $389 million in general obligation bonds were approved to be used for construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of facilities.

Funds will be used to construct new building for math, science and engineering, the fine arts, athletics, business, and a new student union, according to a Southwestern College press release.

“Transparency of our bond programs has been a cornerstone for our Governing Board,” Superintendent and President Kindred Murillo said in a SWC press release. “They have played an active role in setting the direction for our construction program to ensure that our facilities provide our students with outstanding educational opportunities.”

According to the report, the transparency scorecard summarizes the finding of the study by providing an accounting of the information made available by school districts.

The six school districts to receive a score of 100 percent for reporting include: Southwestern College, Grossmont Union High School District, Lemon Grove School District, Palomar Community College, San Dieguito Union High School District, and San Marcos Unified School District.

“Overall, our findings show that the transparency of ICOCs (Independent Citizen Oversight Committees) has decreased over the past year,” according to the report. “Our 2016 evaluation of bond transparency brought marked improvement, but that improvement does not seem to have fully sustained through 2017.”

The school districts with the lowest scores were National School District with 56 percent and Chula Vista Elementary School District with a 44 percent transparency grade.

According to the report, information about Measure N bond program for National School District was available but not for their 2016 Measure Hh program.

The scorecard does not comment on the quality of the material available or the ease of access, according to the report.

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