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Board Places $7 Billion School Construction Bond Issue on the Ballot for November 3, 2020 (08-04-20)

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Shannon Haber, 213-393-1289                                  August 4, 2020

Board Places $7 Billion School Construction Bond Issue
On the Ballot for November 3, 2020

LOS ANGELES (August 4, 2020) – The Board of Education voted unanimously today to place a $7 billion school construction bond issue on the November ballot which would allow Los Angeles Unified to continue its multi-year effort to upgrade school facilities.

The existing construction and modernization program has built more than 100 new schools, replaced fire alarms, air conditioning systems and roofs at more than 500 schools, upgraded science labs, enabled technology use at schools and created more than 350,000 jobs. Comprehensive modernization projects are currently under way at 22 schools. However, much more work remains as 70% of school buildings are over a half-century old.

“The funds from this bond measure would help continue to upgrade facilities without an increase in tax rates,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “I hope voters in November will get out and vote on this important measure.” 

In addition to bringing aging campuses up to 21st-century learning standards, the bond would allow Los Angeles Unified to improve accessibility and earthquake safety, expand early childhood and adult education programs, add wellness clinics, upgrade school cafeterias, and provide cleaner school buses and renewable energy. Bond proceeds would also help address facilities needs to adapt to a post-COVID-19 learning environment.

The bond measure would levy approximately $0.02174 per $100 of assessed valuation, generating an estimated $329,528,000 annually until approximately 2055. 

"I am personally pleased to go forward with our Facilities Upgrade Bond because it will not only provide our schools with needed safety school projects, modernization and upgrades that will make a significant impact in the lives of our students, it will generate jobs and stimulate the economy,” Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said. “More than 70% of our schools are over 50 years old and our students should not have to learn in substandard, outdated facilities."

“This bond measure is a critical step in providing our students the benefit of having access to 21st-century learning environments,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “I represent several schools that are over 100 years old and we’ll see many more campuses hit that milestone in the next five years. The future of the life of our school facilities for the next 100 years and beyond depends on the steps we take now.” 

“Voters have changed the world for hundreds of thousands of students by voting in favor of Los Angeles Unified,” Board Member Mónica García said. “Investment in our students’ learning environments and jobs is, and continues to be, a smart and transformative effort. We invite voices of support to show up at the ballot box again.”

“As a former career teacher, counselor and middle school principal, I have seen firsthand how modern, well-maintained school facilities enhance the quality of education and significantly improve student achievement,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “Modernization includes updating technology, building new classrooms, renovating existing learning spaces, transitioning to clean renewable energy and making sure that our students have access to safe, Field Act-compliant campuses. These projects are vital if our students are to receive the education that will prepare them for California's 21st-century economy."

“Every child should have access to a safe, supportive school environment, and as nearly 100 schools turn 100 years old this fall, the need to provide that is great,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “This bond will help us continue the critical projects needed to provide our existing schools with innovative learning spaces, secure campuses and modernized buildings.”

“With so many Los Angeles Unified schools now more than 50 years old, this bond will upgrade and make safer many more schools,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. “I believe it is critical to continue to provide excellent facilities as part of providing outstanding academic opportunities to all students.”

“Placing this bond on the ballot is a critical step for our schools, our students and the broader community,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “Given the positive contributions of our bond program, I hope the voters will choose once again to invest in the students of Los Angeles Unified. The need is significant, and our schools cannot wait on this important investment.”