Over the past few years, schools have borrowed billions to pay for facilities and improvements promised to taxpayers.
Voters get what they want now, but it leaves future generations on the hook for the bill.
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer likens capital appreciation bonds to payday loans.
You get what you need now, but at the expense of the future.
A report from Lockyer's office shows billions in capital appreciation bonds have been issued to schools across the state, with some having to pay 10 to 20 times more than the principal.
Bill Lockyer, Ca. State Treasurer: "It was premised on a lot of local growth that someday would allow the balloon payment that happens 25-40 years from now to be paid back by the next generation of residents."
College of the Sequoias says it needed the bonds to pay for improvements and new campuses.
It was approved by voters.
But COS says it's debt is actually a combination of capital appreciation bonds, and convertible bonds.
Administrators had no choice but to borrow, but they wanted to minimize the impact to tax payers.
Stan Carrizosa, President, College of the Sequoias: "Our board chose to take a little bit closer look at what the long term details were associated with ours."
According to the treasurer's office, a $2.4million bond from 2009 will cost COS $11.7million over 25 years.
A $350,000 bond borrowed in 2010, will grow to $5.8million over 27 years.
And $3.7million borrowed last year comes out to $25.6million in 29 years.
"That's too long term a debt over too long a period of time, in order for us to obligate our taxpayers to that."
Here's a look at what some other schools & districts have accrued..
Exeter Union took out about $1.7million in 2008, which will mature to $9.7million over 37 years.
Lindsay Unified's $3.4million will grow to nearly $14million in 29 years...
And West Hills Community College borrowed over $1million in 2008, with a total debt service of $3.2million over 24 years.
To help minimize the impact to taxpayers, COS Administrators will be looking for opportunities to refinance their bonds over the next few years.
Here are the numbers for Fresno Unified School District...
Administrators took on bonds of $55.5million and $25.5million last year, with a total of about $375million to pay off over the next 30 years.