Cypress School District – Why I’m voting No on Measure M


Advocating for a new District office given the numerous issues confronting the school district is a case of misaligned priorities. A new District office doesn’t address any of the issues in the attached list of reasons to vote no on Measure M or any of the concerns shown below or the issues raised by the OC Grand Jury in their 2014 reports (links provided below). As it pertains to the ongoing actions by the School District to acquire more and more income properties by selling off District and school property, the Orange County Register’s Editorial Board expressed concern in their opinion on one of the District’s rezoning measures in 2014: ‘a school district ought to put its focus on educating students to the best of their ability – not on transforming itself into an entrepreneurial property agent.’

Had the Cypress School District used the proceeds from the sale of MacKay and Dickerson to fund a significant amount of the school renovation instead of buying 2 apartment buildings for $26.5 million, the District could have avoided selling Bond Series B1 and B2 which would have saved property tax payers $175 million in debt service payments with over $150 million of it being interest. (see attached debt schedule)

Had the Cypress School District renovated the approximate combined total of 75 classrooms at Cawthon, Swain, and Damron Schools instead of using bond funds to add all of these modular classrooms to the 6 schools that are operating, many children would not have to leave their neighborhoods to go to school and a significant amount of morning traffic related to taking children to school would have been eliminated.

Cypress School District has closed 40% of our elementary schools since 2004 including Cawthon, Damron, Dickerson, and Swain. This doesn’t make sense since enrollment has only gone down by 17% since its peak in 2001/02. Enrollment in the Cypress School District peaked in 2001/02 at 4,765 students. Enrollment in 2017/18 was 3,957 which is 808 fewer students than the peak which accounts for the 17% reduction. There were 10 schools when enrollment was 3,936 in 1991/92 which is similar to the 2017/18 of 3,957. In fact, there were 11 schools at the beginning of this chart showing enrollment in 1982/83 of 3,392 students as MacKay didn’t close until 1989.

History of Cypress Elementary Schools

1924 – Cypress School Opened – Now the site of the Senior Center and Calvary Chapel 1959 – MacKay Opened – Now Homes

1962 – Dickerson Opened – Now Homes

1963 – Damron and King Opened

1964 – Morris and Cawthon Opened

1965 – Vessels Opened

1966 – Landell Opened

1967 – Swain Opened

1968 – Arnold, Luther, and the District Office Opened

All of the schools currently range in age from 50 to 55 years old. Note that every school in the District is as old or older than the District Office. When the bonds are paid off in 35 years, the schools will be between 85 and 90 years old. What will the kids do then since they will be the taxpayers? How the District can justify new administrative offices and leave this future huge burden on our children is hard to grasp.

Links to 2014 Grand Jury Reports

Orange County School Districts: Dire Financial Futures

School Bonds – The Untold Story of Assessed Values

Cypress School District – Why I’m voting No on Measure M