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EDITORIAL : THROWING MONEY AWAY; A PROPOSED $9 BILLION BOND FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION NEEDS TO OFFER REFORMS.

TODAY is the deadline for state lawmakers to place a $9 billion bond measure for school construction and repairs on the November ballot.

This is one deadline we're happy to see ignored.

It's unthinkable, although not unprecedented, to go to the public and ask for a $9 billion bond measure without offering a clear and comprehensive plan for reforming schools, and setting real standards for achievement and accountability for teachers, administrators and students.

A $9 billion school construction and repair measure would provide matching funds to districts in which two-thirds of voters approve a local school facilities bond.

Earlier this year, lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on school bonds in time for the June ballot because Democrats wanted a reduction in the two-thirds vote requirement for passage of local bonds and Republicans wanted a cap on developer fees for school construction.

The public understands that school districts, colleges and universities are in dire need of updated campuses and improved facilities. From elementary schools to community colleges to universities, campuses are barely coping with growth.

The California State University system needs an estimated $2.2 billion in renovation and growth projects over the next five years. University of California campuses need $250 million a year to upgrade facilities, a majority of which are more than 30 years old.

The community college system needs $225 million a year to maintain existing facilities and an additional $105 million per year to accommodate growth.

And of course, K-12 school districts are in need of many more classrooms. The Los Angeles Unified School District is spending millions on questionable portable classrooms just to keep pace.

But the public also has demanded standardized testing, bilingual education reforms, basic curriculum guidelines, and more local input, all of which has been resisted by the educational establishment.

Pouring money into education without an inextricable link to reform is folly.

And voters in the Los Angeles Unified School District understand that better than anyone. Would voters approve Proposition BB today after the LAUSD debacle?

Fat chance.

The same is true with the Los Angeles Community College District. The district doesn't deserve a statewide bailout until it makes concrete steps toward getting its financial house in order.

Lawmakers are right to hold off placing this proposed bond measure on the ballot.

Why should the public pay for low quality education in Taj Mahal schools?
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 25, 1998
Words:394
Previous Article:MTA TO ADD FUNDS FOR LAPD PATROLS.
Next Article:EDITORIAL : PRINCIPALS AND PRINCIPLES; THE LAUSD BETRAYS ITS OWN REFORM PROCESS.


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