In the Throes of a Budget Crisis, West Contra Costa Unified Seeks $575 Million Construction Bond

The West Contra Costa Unified School Board will ask voters to approve a $575 million construction bond to upgrade school facilities in March of 2020. The school board voted to place the measure on the ballot Wednesday, EdSource reports. The decision was 4-1 with Board president Tom Panas voting no. 

The new proposal was approved at a time of immense budget anxiety. The district’s deficit shot from $10 million to $48 million in just a few months and it’s not entirely clear how. Allies of Superintendent Matthew Duffy say he received erroneous numbers from the previous chief business official and assumed they were accurate.

Board member Mister Phillips has called for the superintendent’s termination. But Duffy's supporters iniclude trustee Consuelo Lara, the teachers’ unions, and a vocal group of parents. At a recent meeting on his job performance, the Board took no action

The March bond measure would have no bearing on the current deficit. The district will hear recommendations for the budget next month. Financial officer Tony Wold is expected to recommend borrowing millions from the retiree health insurance fund plus budget cuts. The district could also take $25 million out of its $38 million in reserves.