Jason Glass and Jeffco Schools promised transparency when they put a $567M Bond to the vote of taxpayers in 2018.
To great fanfare, Glass rolled out what was called a Flipbook that explained sources of revenue for the District’s 6 year Capital Improvement Program and exactly how much would be spent at each school.
There was one big problem though. The Flipbook did NOT show where nearly $17M in bond proceeds would be used. I even wrote about it in October 2018 – http://improvejeffcoschools.org/index.php/2018/10/ A year and a half later, through CORA requests, I’ve been able to piece together the uses of that $17M, now blossomed to over $19M, in spending:
|North Transportation-Joyce Renovation||$349,400|
|581 Conference Place Reopen||$518,877.00|
|Mount Evans OELS Efficiency||$3,210,190|
|Windy Peaks OELS Efficiency||$3,340,982|
|Anderson Preschool Efficiency||$117,794|
|Irwin Preschool Efficiency||$48,935|
|Free Horizon Montessori||$174,682|
|Litz Preschool Efficiency||$77,479|
|North Transportation-Site Acquisition||$7,000,600|
In looking at this list, one can only guess at why these projects were not shown to taxpayers – most are not directly related to schools. Trailblazer stadium, North Transportation Site, 581 Conference Place – these are not projects that would have encouraged me to vote Yes on the Bond.
Even when asked a question on his much touted Jeffco Generations Facebook page, Glass failed to answer a question regarding the missing projects.
And, the most egregious thing was that shortly after the Bond was approved by taxpayers the Flipbook was quietly updated. Cost estimates increased from $563M to $594M, an increase of $31M in cost estimates.
Here are several examples of how project costs changed (you can see the complete list here):
|School||Original Flipbook||Revised Flipbook||Difference|
|Patterson International ES||$463,102||$2,232,000||$1,768,898|
|West Jefferson Middle School||$2,323,535||$3,700,000||$1,376,465|
Not only is there not a corresponding increase in revenue to fund these increases, but the impact of the changes turns out to be extremely important in the on-going deception of hiding the degree of cost overruns, which I will discuss in a future post.
The deception to taxpayers regarding 5B funding and projects started early and appears to be well thought out – not something that should be done if Jeffco wants to get another Bond approved in the future.