In Partnership with The 74

$7 Billion for Repairs, But LA Unified to Start With Much Less

LA School Report | October 10, 2013



imagesIt has been almost five years since local voters approved Measure Q, authorizing LA Unified to sell $7 billion in bonds for school repairs and upgrades.

Any idea how much has been raised?

Zero.

Any idea how much of the $7 billion will be available when bonds are sold and spending starts next year?

“A billion dollars, more or less,” said Tom Rubin, consultant to the district’s School Construction Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee. “It’ll probably be under a billion. Well under.”

For schools around the district waiting years for fixes, that’s a bummer. And the wait for many schools won’t be any less nerve-wracking as district officials start prioritizing projects. They have quite a few to pick from: Rubin says the overall value of all the district’s repair and modernization needs is more than $50 billion.

Imagine the school board food fights over that.

Why so little and so slow, when 69 percent of voters approved Q? That’s how the bond process works.

Since the national recession hit in 2008, the district has sold only a few bonds from older measures and repaid others. When the time comes to start spending Measure Q money, about a year from now, remaining debt service on older bonds goes to the front of the line.

What’s left of the $7 billion will be spent in equal amounts over the next few years.

So what’s your pleasure — upgrade classrooms, get rid of portables, replace pipes, install security cameras, improve air quality, expand internet capacity, remove asbestos, buy more iPads?

Plans are formulating, with the first reviews set for two board committee meetings on Oct. 22 and the Bond Oversight Committee in November. Once a plan is approved, the Oversight Committee will make recommendations to the board, likely in December. If the board votes to approve, the bond sale begins.

Let the lobbying begin — if it already hasn’t.

 

 

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