In the wake of our big investigation into the relationship between donors to school bond campaigns and the companies that are selected to build schools, we’ve been paying a lot of attention to a process called lease-leaseback.

Just what is a lease-leaseback, anyway? That’s the question we answered in last week’s edition of San Diego Explained with our partners NBC 7 San Diego. If you’re interested in the rise of this delivery method to spend billions of public dollars, it’s worth spending three minutes watching this explainer:

This arcane-sounding funding mechanism is increasingly used by local school districts to build schools with bond money.

But there’s been some heated discussion about why this method has become so popular.

One side argues districts trying to circumvent a long-standing requirement to award work to the lowest bidder. The rebuttal: Lease-leasebacks give districts much-needed flexibility to select the best companies to do the best work.


There was also some discussion on NBC 7 San Diego last week about the selection of elementary school Principal Cindy Marten to be the next superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District.

Former school board candidate Bill Ponder and district trustee Scott Barnett discussed the appointment on “Politically Speaking”:

And NBC 7 San Diego’s Rory Devine and I spent some time on the same show analyzing the appointment and talking about some of the challenges Marten will face in the coming years:

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego currently focused on local education. You can reach him at or 619.550.5670.

Like VOSD on Facebook.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

Will Carless

Will Carless was formerly the head of investigations at Voice of San Diego.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.