LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Measure RR, a $7 billion bond measure aimed at providing the Los Angeles Unified School District with a steady flow of money to improve its facilities and technology, as well as increase safety measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, was overwhelmingly approved by district voters.
The measure received support from nearly 71% of voters, according to preliminary election results released early Wednesday, Nov. 4. An unknown number of ballots still needed to be counted at press time, but are unlikely to impact the outcome of the election.
Backers said the funds will address school facility inequities, reduce and remove asbestos, address earthquake and water quality hazards and replace/renovate aging school classrooms/buildings.
According to LAUSD documents, the lion’s share of the funds — about $3 billion — would be used to upgrade the 70% of district facilities in desperate need of repairs, and to create modern learning environments within them.
The money would also be subject to independent audits and citizen oversight, and no funds would be used for administrative salaries, according to the ballot language.
The LAUSD Board of Education voted unanimously to place Measure RR on the ballot, and in its overview document of the measure, school officials said the district has more than $50 billion in needed repairs and upgrades.
Measure RR needed 55% of the vote to pass because it would raise property taxes, per California state law. The cost of repaying the bonds would be taxed at about $2.17 per $100,000 of assessed property value.
The measure is expected to raise about $329 million annually until 2055.
Measure RR is similar to the last $7 billion LAUSD school facilities bond measure that was passed in 2008, Measure Q, although that measure was mostly reserved solely for making immediate repairs to school buildings.
There was no organized opposition to the measure, according to documents from the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, which tracks LAUSD election campaign spending.
In turn, the political action committee “Yes on RR-Committee for Safe, Updated, Modernized Schools,’’ has so far garnered more than $1.5 million in support of the measure — mostly from labor unions — and it has spent a little more than $1 million of that money on political advertising, Ethics Commission documents show.
“On behalf of the entire Los Angeles Unified school community, thank you, voters,” said LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner, in a released statement. “The students are the real winners today, this victory is theirs. Because of voter support, and the support of labor, business and community leaders, more students will get access to safe and updated schools and learning technology.
“We acted boldly during these uncertain times by placing Measure RR on the ballot, knowing we needed to continue to address needs in school facilities. We are grateful voters overwhelmingly supported this effort.”