1989: THE YEAR AHEAD : EDUCATION : Districts Face Spending Decisions

The dominant issue facing Orange County education in 1989 is money--specifically, how a windfall from the recently approved Proposition 98 will be spent.

This year, all public schools and community colleges in the state will benefit from the voters’ narrow passage last November of Proposition 98, the initiative that calls on the state to increase aid to education and earmarks a percentage of the state budget each year for schools and community colleges.

Arguments are already erupting in Sacramento, however, about how to implement the measure and how the extra money should be spent.

Teachers are calling for the extra money to go into pay raises. Gov. George Deukmejian and some key legislators are saying the new money should be used to hire more teachers and thus reduce class sizes.


“I do not know what the implementation of Proposition 98 will be, nor does anyone else at this point,” said John Nicoll, superintendent of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. “If you read the signs coming out of Sacramento, it looks like it is going to be a fascinating legislative session.”

Many school districts in Orange County face explosive growth in 1989, and they thus hope for more state money for new buildings or school additions. For instance, Santa Ana Unified School District is rapidly building to keep pace with its 1,000 new students a year. But Santa Ana officials worry that the state’s fund for school construction will be exhausted in 1989, since so many other school districts in the state also are on a building spree.

Schools in south county communities of Mission Viejo, San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Niguel also face increased growth.