Los Angeles Unified School District
lausd bond

With billions in facility needs, Los Angeles district seeks approval of massive bond request

Oct. 5, 2020
Voters in the nation's 2nd-largest district are being asked to approve a $7 billion proposal that would pay for upgrades of hundreds of aging school buildings.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is seeking approval on Nov. 3 for a $7 billion bond proposal that would pay to upgrade aging facilities, retrofit buildings to withstand earthquakes and make them accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the bonds also would pay for facilities upgrades to meet safety standards to combat the coronavirus, as well as the expansion of early childhood and adult education programs, new wellness clinics, cafeteria upgrades, cleaner school buses and renewable energy.

Measure RR, called the School Upgrades and Safety Measure, requires a 55% voter approval to pass.

As the second-largest K-12 system in the nation, the Los Angeles district serves more than 600,000 students and operates 750 school sites. Of those 750 sites, 77% are at least 50 years old and 13% are 100 years of age or older, according to the district. Officials say many of these buildings are outdated and in need of repairs and upgrades.

Historically, the district has had success passing facilities bonds. All five school bonds the district has placed on the ballot since 1997 were approved.

Through its construction and modernization program, the Los Angeles district has constructed more than 100 new schools; replaced fire alarms, air conditioning units and roofs at more than 500 campuses; and modernized science labs and enabled more technology to be used in schools, according to the district. Major modernization projects are also underway at 22 schools.

But the district still has more than $50 billion in unfunded facilities needs, officials say. Citing equity issues, officials say it’s necessary to bring all schools up to 21st-century learning standards.

Should the measure fail, the district may be forced to make cuts, Superintendent Austin Beutner says.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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