Voters Approve $23 Billion in School Bonds

This election had a lot of shockers. One of which was the high number of school bonds approved by voters, which so far totals a little more than $23 billion.

Last Tuesday, Californians voted on a combined 430 tax and bond measures--184 of which were school bonds and another 22 school parcel taxes, according to a report compiled by Michael Coleman, fiscal policy adviser for the League of California Cities.

The report shows that the passing rate for school measures this cycle was 92 percent, beating the previous average passage rate of 81 percent held since 1981. Currently, 166 of the 184 school bond measures have passed, but as Coleman is quick to point out, there are thousands of ballots yet to be counted, which means this number could increase as more votes come in.  Parcel taxes passed at 15 of the 22 districts which increased the average percentage rate from 61 percent to 68 percent.

Voters in Los Angeles County approved 28 out of the 29 school bond measures which will result in funds over $8.2 billion as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The state's largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, did not place any bonds on the ballot as it currently has $6 billion of voter funds still available. But the district probably need more funds in the future, according to Tom Rubin, consultant to the committee that oversees local bond spending, who estimates $40 billion in construction costs.

Conservative Kern County surprisingly passed 11 out of the 12 school bond measures, amounting to about $1.35 billion. The one that didn't pass? The highly controversial $110 million McFarland Unified bond, which would have been used to build a desperately needed new high school to ease the pain from increasing enrollment. However, the bond would have placed a huge burden on the few property owners as it would cost them $240 per $100,000 of assessed property value yearly for 30 years.

Statewide, voters also approved proposition 51 a $9 billion bond that would be allocated to school improvements, new schools, and other school related projects. Proposition 55 also gained voter approval as it extends the tax on the wealthy and allocating approximately $4 billion of the revenue to schools yearly.

To see the complete rundown of which measures passed and which ones didn't fare so well, check out CaliforniaCityFinance.