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School Bond Backers Pressure Brown To Reach Deal

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It’s not getting as much buzz as the water bond, but California lawmakers and interest groups are making a big push to place a school bond on the November ballot as well.

California school boards and superintendents support it. The teachers union supports it. Construction and building trades support it. The Chamber of Commerce supports it. And it passed the Assembly this spring without a single “no” vote.

“There is no opposition to this bill,” says Democratic Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, the bill’s author.

Yet for all that, it’s far from clear voters will see a school bond on the November ballot.

“Everyone believes that we need a bond and that it’s good for the economy and that it’s good for schools,” Buchanan says.

So what’s the hang-up?

“We haven’t reached an agreement yet with the governor’s office.”

Gov. Jerry Brown has frequently tried to reduce the state’s debt service. He recently backed off his opposition to a November water bond measure, as long as it’s smaller than the existing one. But he’s seen as more reluctant to sign a school bond than a water bond.

Buchanan says she’s looking for a final deal in the four-and-a-half to five billion dollar range – with most of the money going to build new school facilities and modernize existing ones, and a small amount going to charter schools.