Measure Q Backers Declare Victory

LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia joined Superintendent David Brewer Wednesday in thanking voters for passing Measure Q. 

It passed with nearly 69% of the vote. Only a 55% yes vote was needed.

The $7 billion bond will be used to repair and upgrade existing schools.  The average age of the district's 900 schools is 50 years old.  In addition to repairs, the bond money will be used to upgrade technology and science labs, as well as incorporate more environmentally friendly green technology at school sites.

One hundred million dollars will be used to replace school drinking fountains and pipes that contain lead, which is leaching into drinking water.  This is an issue that was raised by Channel 4's Investigative Reporter, Joel Grover in a series of reports.

A large portion of the funds are dedicated to creating smaller school environments, including magnet and charter schools.  The teachers' union, UTLA, was initially opposed to putting the measure on the ballot because it allocates funds to charter schools, but once the measure was on the ballot, UTLA chose not to take a position on it.

The news conference was held at 9th Street Elementary, which is in the heart of L.A.'s garment district and skid row.  Many of the school's K-5 students are homeless.  The entire school consists of portable classrooms, which are essentially trailers.  The principal says the air conditioning is not reliable, forcing teachers to often leave the classroom doors open which lets in noise from the industrial neighborhood.  There is also no multi-purpose room in which to hold parent meetings or school assemblies, all of which must be held outdoors.  The school is also lacking a cafeteria.

LAUSD Chief Facilities Executive Guy Mehula says it's now up to the school board to come up with a list of priorities. 

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