Over 100 School Bond Measures Go Before Voters This Fall

California voters will weigh in on more than 100 school funding measures next month, totaling more than $12 billion in borrowing. The numbers are big, but not compared to 2016 when more than 180 school bond measures peppered local ballots in California.

Voters are generally inclined to support these requests. As CalMatters’ Richard Cano notes, 86% of school bond measures have passed since 2012. In June, voters rejected just 5 of the 35 measures before them.

As usual, the initiatives seek to shore up funds for roof work, air conditioning, lead removal and other wear and tear. California’s schools are staring down $117 billion in repairs over the next decade (UC Berkeley).

This year, however, there’s a new a dynamic on scene. In the wake of the Parkland, Florida massacre and other high-profile school shootings, many schools are seeking funds for safety upgrades. These include new security systems and efforts to secure school entrances, exists and fences.

Richard Michael, head of the California School Bonds Clearinghouse watchdog group, is skeptical of many of these requests. He points out that security upgrades appeared on some earlier bond measures for the same districts and questions whether this is a cynical ploy to ensure the measures pass.

The Clearinghouse has a list of all school bonds appearing on the November ballot here.  Among the largest is an 800,000,000 bond measure for the Peralta CCD, a $720,000,000 bond measure for Santa Clara Unified, a $700,000,000 bond measure for the Chaffey CCD and a $698,000,000 measure for West-Valley Mission CCD.

CalMatters also runs through some of the measures here