Countywide : Bergeson Seeks Backing for State School Bonds

Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) said Monday that California must pass a bond issue this November if even the bare minimum of needed new schools are to be built.

Bergeson is sponsoring a ballot initiative that calls for $800 million in bond revenues for school financing. To get on the November ballot, the initiative must be approved by the state Senate and the Assembly.

Bergeson said a major hurdle for the initiative comes Thursday, when the bond issue proposal is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

In a prepared statement, Bergeson said Orange County is among the areas drastically affected by proposals for new subdivisions but with school districts unable to build new schools. The result could be a halt to residential building, she said.

"I am receiving calls from school superintendents and other school officials declaring that they will oppose all growth within their districts if the school construction need is not met," Bergeson said.

"Given our state's housing needs, as well as the current school facility needs, it is obvious that developer fees and other current methods of financing school buildings are inadequate. A bond measure is the most responsible means of addressing the problem at this time."

Bergeson said that, statewide, there are pending applications--and no money--for $884 million to build new schools. Of that amount, Orange County's growth needs account for at least $43 million, she said. In addition to the $884 million for new schools, the state has unfunded applications for another $630 million for school reconstruction, Bergeson said.

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