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West Contra Costa, Calif., school district faces bond woes

Trustees and staff overseeing the West Contra Costa (Calif.) Unified School District’s $1.6 billion bond program are trying to determine how they will complete more than two dozen large construction projects in the wake of what has been referred to as a voter revolt, after local residents rejected a $270 million bond measure in June.

"My concern is that we're not going to have enough growth in assessed valuation to keep to our current commitments and time schedules as we move forward," trustee Todd Groves told the Contra Costa Times.

Loss of new bond money is just one of many challenges the district faces. The program has experienced increased scrutiny, including an investigation by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition, two longtime affiliates of the bond program are leaving the district. One is running for Richmond City Council, and one retires next month.

The Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee, which is responsible for monitoring and reporting how money is spent, recently released information that the district does not have enough money to meet its promise that all of the district's more than 50 schools be built to the same standards.

As a result of the funding shortage and investigations, says the committee, several projects will be delayed or not completed. 

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