California Voters Approve $9 Billion Bond for New Schools

California voters approved $9 billion in state bonds for school and community college construction projects. Returns early Wednesday showed Proposition 51 had 53 percent of the vote.

Proponents said the measure was needed for new buildings and renovations, while opponents argued the state could not afford the estimated $500 million it would cost each year to pay off the bonds. They said reform is needed in the way school construction projects are funded.

The measure was funded by two developer organizations that have contributed $9 million since January, and it's supported by the California PTA and dozens of school districts, labor and business associations.

It would authorize $6 billion in general obligation bonds for building new K-12 schools and renovating older ones, as well as $1 billion for charters and vocational schools and $2 billion for community colleges. Principal and interest payments would be paid off over 35 years and cost a total of $17.6 billion if sold at an average 5 percent interest rate.

Notable opponents included Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat who called the proposition "the developers' $9 billion bond" in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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