School bond halted amid Brown’s opposition

For months, Gov. Brown has signaled his dislike for borrowing new money for school construction. This week, key lawmakers agreed, derailing a bond that had been aimed at the November ballot.

It’s been eight years since voters approved a $10.4 billion bond for educational facilities, and two years since that pot of money virtually ran dry.

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D- Alamo, the chair of the Education Committee, sought more money. She co-sponsored AB 2235 with Republican Assemblyman Curt Hagman of Chino Hills, which would place on the November ballot a $4.3 billion bond to pay for a backlog of school renovation projects.

The bill originally carried a $9 billion price tag, but it was cut-down by more than half after Brown administration finance officials gave resounding disapproval to the measure’s cost at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

In his January budget draft, Brown indicated any future school construction program must be designed to “avoid an unsustainable reliance on state debt issuance,” as it does currently.

Reigning in on the California’s long-term debt has been an overt political philosophy of the governor, who faces reelection bid this fall.

The public will also vote in November on a recently rewritten multibillion-dollar water bond, in addition to a measure seeking to restore the state’s rainy day fund and repay debts.

Both measures have been aggressively endorsed by the administration.

The Assembly school bond bill had made its way through committee votes in both houses, but was ultimately pulled from a Senate floor vote by its authors. Buchanan’s office indicated it was the governor’s pending disapproval — and lack of time with adjournment looming on Aug. 31 — that moved them to kill the legislation.

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