The funding stresses facing our K-12 schools have spurred thoughts on options and solutions. Some have suggested that construction funds be used for a broad base of spending. Is this appropriate or even legal?
The answer is generally no. Construction dollars are pledged for infrastructure and other long-term investments necessary to support both current and future students. Construction bonds submitted to the public for approval in fact specify allowable uses of the funds. Due to the lengthy 25-30 year bonds, the projects supported are long-term in nature. Funds for short-term spending, such as computers, would more appropriately come from operating budgets Equipment necessary to infrastructure such as fiber optic cables, computer labs, or data processing centers could be an appropriate use of construction dollars.
When putting bond requests before the electorate, school districts need to carefully prioritize their needs. In this economy, tight budgets are going to be a persistent reality for quite some time. Ultimately, a more efficient use of resources will be necessary to address these budget constraints.