February 26, 1999
SACRAMENTO (AP) - A state senator is trying once again to make it easier for local school districts to pass school construction bonds.
The latest effort by Sen. Jack O'Connell, D-San Luis Obispo, to let district voters approve bond sales with a majority vote was approved 9-3 by the Senate Education Committee.
Currently, school districts must submit bond issues for school construction and repair to voters and get a two-thirds vote for approval. O'Connell's proposal would lower that requirement to a majority vote.
In the November 1998 election, he noted, 20 of the 36 local school bonds passed with the two-thirds vote needed, but 35 of them actually received more than a majority vote.
The current requirement hinders districts that need to replace crumbling and overcrowded schools and prevents the state from lowering class sizes in more grades, O'Connell said.
Voters in 1993 rejected a proposal to lower the vote requirement. Since then O'Connell's attempts to lower the vote requirement have been blocked by the Assembly Republican caucus, which adamantly supports the two-thirds vote as a safeguard for taxpayers.
O'Connell's proposed constitutional amendment moves to the Appropriations Committee. If approved by the Legislature, it would go before state voters next year.