Measure Q is largest bond measure in LA Unified's history

It's hard to drive within the boundaries of the Los Angeles Unified School District without spotting a new campus. The district's built 72 new ones so far with about $20 billion in voter-approved bond money. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has more on another L.A. Unified bond measure on Tuesday's ballot - the largest in the district's history.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Days before the election, students, teachers, and parents rallied in support of Measure Q on the steps of the new Carmen Lomas Garza school in Boyle Heights.

[People chanting "Whose schools?" "Our schools!"]

Guzman-Lopez: In 11 years L.A. Unified voters have passed four school bonds. Most of the money has gone to build new schools and ease classroom crowding. School board president Monica Garcia says the job is far from over.

Monica Garcia: The need is greater than $60 billion, so the $7 billion that we are asking for on November 4th that will extend over a 10-year period is only addressing a portion of the kind of change that we need.

Guzman-Lopez: The money would help build more new schools, upgrade older facilities, and improve campus security. If Measure Q passes, yearly property taxes within L.A. Unified's boundaries would go up at most $60 for every $100,000 of assessed property value.

Opponents say the district drew up the bond's project too quickly. They question saddling property owners with another tax when there's so much school bond money already in the pipeline.

David Tokofsky: The amount of money invites politics of major proportions, and we've still got schools that are 80 years old that have to be repaired, and we still have the largest high schools in California.

Guzman-Lopez: That's former L.A. Unified school board member David Tokofsky. He's not campaigning against the bond. While he agrees the district needs more bricks and mortar, he says L.A. Unified has an even greater need for teachers and books.

Tokofsky: My biggest concern is that it's about more construction, and the real crisis is about instruction monies.

Guzman-Lopez: Tokofsky says voters need to read Measure Q very carefully. Voters will weigh in on this and other districts' school bonds days after California educators got a big surprise.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's told them he wants to help close this year's state budget deficit by taking an ax to the money public schools are set to receive this year.

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