Instead of attending the meeting, Brand posted a video on the district website explaining the open-boundaries program and the way the district spends the Mello-Roos money.
Brand explains the district’s use of Mello-Roos funds in this way: “Let’s say I’m a student at Eastlake, and I apply and go to the program at Mar Vista High School. The money from the Mello-Roos area that I come from actually can follow me to that school. So, district-wide, approximately 25 percent of our students are in Mello-Roos attendance areas and 25 percent of the building can be charged as a result of that. At Mar Vista High School, if we wanted to build a fence, for instance, we could charge approximately 25 percent, or the number of students who are at Mar Vista High from a Mello-Roos district, for the cost of that fence and its installation.”
Parents think the message equivocates. Is Brand saying he can spend 25 percent of the Mello-Roos funds anywhere in the district, or is he saying the school district will spend on a school only the percentage of Mello-Roos money proportionate to the Mello-Roos students who attend that school?
Luis and Veronica Cruz, parents of Eastlake High students, attended the Otay Ranch mall meeting. They said the overcrowding was so bad at their son’s school that he had to miss lunch for four days while he stood in line to sign up for the PSAT test.
They also stated that their daughter’s biology/forensics teacher’s budget for the year was only $47. They told me the teacher was reduced to using road kill for assignments. In a follow-up interview, their daughter told me the teacher is currently using a road-kill specimen to demonstrate how bodies decompose.
Veronica Cruz said the conditions at the school have begun to remind her of when she went to school in Tijuana. She said you had to bring the school’s supplies — bleach, toilet paper, everything.
She said she and her husband have worked hard to move to a good location so their kids can have a good education.