Most Viewed Stories
Local man against Measure J
'Measure J is a $90 million slush fund,' Hardin says
Porterville resident John Hardin is on a mission — to inform the public why he is against Measure J — Porterville Unified School District’s $90 million bond measure on the Nov. 6 ballot — that will help finance various PUSD facility improvements.
“My research into the district has led to interesting personal results,” Hardin said Tuesday morning during a Porterville Breakfast Lions’ weekly meeting. “However, fighting for the students and teachers in the district is a battle that I gladly accept and won’t be intimidated away from continuing.”
Hardin said he has been called a liar, dishonest and was physically threatened by a board member’s husband. He also said he was banned from volunteering as a coach and had his monetary donation to his daughter’s team refused by the school.
Hardin said he would like to hear open debates and dialogue on how the district plans to spend the tax dollars.
He talked about the success of the Burton School District, that has managed to turn $4.5 million in bonds into $80 million in state grants for school projects.
“This grant money comes to the community and does not require a penny of tax revenue locally to pay back,” Hardin said before comparing it to PUSD’s new bond measure. “Measure J is a $90 million slush fund for Porterville Unified.”
Hardin said he has heard conflicting information. He read that Measure J proceeds could be used to build a stadium at the adult school, a swimming complex at Strathmore High, and used to upgrade lighting at athletic fields and ball courts. However, during back-to-school nights at Monache and Porterville High, the schools reported numerous new structures.
“Anyone who follows the district’s lack of support for athletics over the years knows how shallow these promises are,” Hardin said.
Hardin also expressed concern over the district’s announcement that they would provide students with iPads and internet service — something that is not the taxpayers’ responsibility, he said.
One other major concern revolves around a conversation he had with a Porterville Unified District administrator.
During a luncheon on the District’s Measure J promotion tour, Hardin said he asked an assistant superintendent if the proceeds from the bond were used to maintain athletic fields or replace air conditioners, could general-fund money slated for maintenance be shifted to salaries. The answer, Hardin said, was yes.
With Prop. 30, Prop. 38 and Measure J on the ballot, local home owners will be paying for the next 40 years.
“Our kids and their kids will be obligated to repay this massive debt,” he said. “Asking the shrinking number of home owners to foot a tax bill for up to the next 40 years makes zero sense in this economic environment. PUSD needs to cut the massive amount of fat before asking for more money. I would not vote for $9 million until the district does away with the lavish spending, let alone $90 million.”
Hardin said he believes some projects will be completed while others will be spent on things never discussed.
However, John Snavely, PUSD Superintendent, during an Aug. 23 Board Meeting, presented the district’s 2012 Facility Master Plan and Project List — pending the passing of the bond.
He was specific on where the bond money would be spent.
Areas of concern included the need to replace numerous portable classrooms — 16 at Porterville High and 26 at Monache, as well as improving support facilities, renovating play fields and sports areas and increasing security and lighting, renovating and expanding Career Technical and Pathway classroom facilities, constructing or improving on band and choir rooms and practice area facilities and constructing a new swimming pool, stadium and auditorium facilities to meet student enrollment needs.
During the meeting, he identified Monache as the possible site for a small auditorium, Strathmore High as the site for a new swimming pool, and the adult school as the site for a new stadium, with its current 40,000 square foot building as the site for a new military academy. Forming a transparent oversight committee was also discussed during the meeting.
The bond measure must capture state matching funds of $34 million, pass with 55 percent approval, and will cost homeowners on average $45 per $100,000 assessed valuation a year.