School Bond Issue OKd for Ballot
The Los Angeles school board voted unanimously Tuesday to place a $3.8-billion school construction bond issue on the March ballot.
The bond measure -- the Los Angeles Unified School District’s third in seven years -- would fund the next phase of new-school construction as well as repairs to existing facilities. Its goal, officials said, is to add space for about 49,000 students, aiding efforts to return overcrowded schools from multitrack, year-round calendars to a traditional school year.
According to district officials, the bond issue is being timed for a March 2 vote because a $12-billion state education bond measure will be on the same ballot, along with the presidential primary. The district expects to receive as much as $1.5 billion from the state bond issue to match L.A. schools’ spending for new construction and repairs.
The district estimates the Los Angeles bond measure would cost property owners a maximum of $60 a year for each $100,000 in assessed property value. That would be in addition to about $100 per year per $100,000 in property value to fund the two previous bond measures: BB and Measure K.
Although the overall amount of the new bond proposal has not changed since it was announced last month, Los Angeles school Supt. Roy Romer and the school board made some significant changes Tuesday in how the funds would be spent.
The district has said that it needed to create 204,469 new “seats” to move all of its students to a traditional school year, and that the two previous bond sales were expected to add seats for 112,849 students.
An early draft of the bond package allocated about $1.4 billion to build 39,000 seats.
The bond plan approved Tuesday would increase those numbers -- to $1.875 billion for 49,000 seats.
As part of that, the board allocated $100 million to expand space so the district could start converting its kindergarten program from a half-day to a full-day.
School board President Jose Huizar said he was confident the district could deliver on its ambitious construction plan.
“Our challenge now,” Huizar said, “is to unite, and get behind this bond, and do everything to make sure it passes.”