Politics & Government

School bond measures find support from firms with district contracts

Construction companies, architectural firms and legal practices are bankrolling three school bond measures seeking a combined $510 million that go before voters on Nov. 4.

Many of those same companies have existing or past contracts with all three school districts that benefit from the bond measures: Cuesta College, San Luis Coastal Unified and Atascadero Unified.

In all, $267,065 has been infused into the committees lobbying to pass the measures. So far, none of the committees have spent much money.

No committees have formed in opposition to any of the bond measures.

The latest round of campaign finance statements shows how much money was raised from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30.

Measure L, Cuesta College

This $275 million bond measure would be used to upgrade and repair infrastructure on Cuesta’s San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles campuses.

The Yes on L committee has collected $170,210 in contributions from donors mostly located in San Luis Obispo County.

The largest contributor — the college’s own foundation — gave $65,000. San Luis Obispo architectural firm PMSM Architects donated $25,000 to the committee.

Other large donors include $15,000 from San Luis Obispo-based Thoma Electric and $15,000 from Blach Construction in Santa Clara.

So far, the committee has only spent $53,551 on campaign consultants, website design and phone banks.

Read more about Measure L »

Measure D, San Luis Coastal Unified

This $177 million bond measure would repair and construct facilities at the school district’s main high schools and make minor repairs at its elementary and middle schools.

Central Coast Citizens for Measure D has raised $53,905. Again, PMSM Architects and Thoma Electric were among the largest donors — giving $10,000 each to the campaign.

Both companies had large contracts with the school district in the past year.

Thoma Electric just completed a $650,000 contract to install Wi-Fi in all of the elementary schools.

Vernon Edwards Constructors of Santa Maria gave $7,500.

Law firm Adamski Moroski Madden Cumberland & Green, currently contracted with the district for legal services, gave $5,000. Jones Hall law firm, which will provide bond counsel if it passes, gave $7,500. RSH Construction of Atascadero also gave $5,000 to the campaign.

The committee has only spent $15,491 on election signs, mailers and other promotions.

Read more about Measure D »

Measure B-14, Atascadero Unified

The school district is asking voters to reauthorize $58 million in general obligation bonds in order to complete major upgrades at 10 schools. Four years ago voters approved a $117 million bond.

The Yes on Measure B-14 committee has raised $42,950.

The majority of its large donors already have open contracts with the school district.

Kitchell, a construction management firm with offices in Sacramento, donated the most at $15,000. That same company was hired by the school district for bond program management services.

"As a construction management firm with employees who are vested in the local area, we support efforts to improve the classroom environment for all of the schools in our communities, including San Luis Obispo County,” said Russ Fox, president of Kitchell. “We have contributed to numerous campaigns throughout California that support improving school infrastructure, as it’s a major part of our business and quite frankly the right thing to do.”

Atascadero-based Wysong Construction and San Luis Obispo-based Wicks Roofing each gave the committee $5,000.

Wicks was hired by the school district last year to replace the roofs at two schools.

Wysong is under contract for the modernization of the Monterey Road Elementary School and the Santa Rosa Academic Academy and for some work at Atascadero Junior High School.

Other large donors include Jones Hall law firm, which gave $5,000. They are also under contract for bond legal services with the district. RSH Construction of Atascadero also gave $5,000 to the campaign. That company was hired for several past projects and is still under contract for the construction of the maintenance department shop/warehouse.

So far, the committee has only spent $4,277 for campaign mailings and other promotional material.

Read more about Measure B »