Compton school trustees were accused of sneaking up on taxpayers last week when they voted to issue $2.6 million in capital improvement bonds that will result in a two-year property tax increase.
As required, the general obligation bonds were approved by voters, but in referendums held about 20 years ago.
Before merging into the Compton Unified School District in 1970, a high school system and an elementary system prepared the bonds but never issued them. The authorization was then inherited by Compton Unified, but not used until now. The district recently began scrambling for money when Gov. George Deukmejian suspended $3.8 million in Urban Impact Aid in a budget-cutting battle with the Legislature.
Trustee John Steward argued that it was unfair to issue the bonds now--and raise taxes--unless approved by current voters. He called for a new referendum.
But Steward's colleagues voted 4-3 to proceed with the financing and also issue $3.5 million in similar certificates of participation earmarked for capital projects. The certificate debt doesn't require a referendum.