Measure O spending has been appropriate, committee says

The Murdoch Fraser Aquatics Center at Warren High, which opened in October of 2017, was financed by Measure O.

The Murdoch Fraser Aquatics Center at Warren High, which opened in October of 2017, was financed by Measure O.

DOWNEY – Revenue from a $248 million bond measure to renovate Downey Unified schools has been appropriately spent on campus renovations, according to a report issued last week by a civilian oversight committee.

Downey voters approved Measure O in 2014, electing to tax homeowners to fund repairs, upgrades and new construction projects at Downey Unified campuses.

Downey Unified sold $50 million in bonds in October 2015. The next bond sale occurred in February 2019 in the amount of $135 million.

After Measure O was approved, the school district created a citizens’ bond oversight committee to ensure bond proceeds were properly spent, as required by law.

“The oversight committee has determined that Measure O funds were indeed used for construction jobs, temporary facilities and utilities, mandatory state inspections, environmental reviews, site preparation, engineering services, and other fees and services that are expected with large construction projects,” said Eric Pierce, chair of the oversight committee.

Pierce presented the committee’s findings to the school board on April 9.

“Funds for administrative salaries were spent only to the extent they perform administrative oversight work on construction projects,” Pierce added.

Measure O spending also underwent an independent audit that revealed no questionable costs, according to the report.

Downey Unified spent about $28.8 million in bond proceeds during the 2017-18 school year, which funded renovation work at all 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, and three high schools. Work was also done at Downey Adult School and district headquarters.

In addition to Pierce, the oversight committee includes Paul Beemer, Danielle De Buhr, Melody Gregorio, Russell Skersick, Jerry Wetzstein and Jeff Townsend.

The complete report is available online at dusd.net.

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