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LACCD bond in Measure LA

If passed, funds for Measure LA will be added to the existing billions taxpayers approved in previous measures.

By Cassandra Nava, Managing Editor


Since 2001, the Los Angeles Community College District has acquired $9.6 billion in taxpayer approved bond measures, with $3.6 billion unspent but earmarked. This midterm election, Angelenos will be asked to approve Measure LA, a $5.3 billion bond measure — the biggest in LACCD history.


Taxpayers could see an increase of $88 and $157 annually, which is estimated to be paid off sometime between 2045 and 2063.


Four LACCD bond measures have passed within two decades, all dedicated to renovating the nine district campuses. Across the district, a total of 757 projects have been completed. The two most recently approved measures,2008’s Measure J for $3.5 billion and 2016’s Measure CC for $3.3 billion, both of which are still being paid off by taxpayers, are earmarked for specific projects.


Measure LA is endorsed by the LA Times, stating that an investment in community college infrastructure would benefit current and future students. James McKeever, AFT 1521 faculty guild president, endorsed the measure and stated that funds are critical towards university transfer preparation and overall student momentum.


The most vocal opponents of the bond measure belong to the Libertarian Party of California, who argue that the funds will not be allocated as promised and there will be insufficient oversight. One member of the current LACCD Board of Trustees, Eric Moreno, voted against the bond’s approval at a board meeting. He stated that due to declining enrollment and an unstable economy, the district should not be asking for the large sum.


The LACCD assessed the funds needed for pre-1970’s buildings at $1.3 billion, infrastructure at $734 million, technology at $300 million, sustainability at $687 million and athletic facilities at $163 million.


Valley will see an estimated $496 million if Measure LA is passed, with the largest allocation of funds going to renovating pre-1970s buildings for about $199.2 million.


Internal issues within the district have some questioning the honesty in the plans for allocation. In a 2011 article by the LA Times, a comprehensive investigation found issues that spanned all nine district campuses. As of a decade ago, tens of millions of dollars were wasted due to poor planning and board members disagreeing with contractors’ decisions.


The full text of Measure LA specifies “accountability safeguards” which include annual independent financial audits, a required disclosure of spending and a clarification that no funds will be spent on administrators’ salaries and pensions.


Since 2001, a 16 member District Citizens Oversight Committee has met to discuss the year end budget report. The committee’s purpose is to keep track of bond funds and ensure that the district is honoring the voters.


Currently, Valley has three active construction projects; the Valley Academic and Cultural Center, the Gym Complex (phase two) and the facade of the Allied Health and Science Center. Overall campus infrastructure is experiencing renovation as well, with a focus on energy infrastructure, data lines and security system improvements.


Valley’s long awaited VACC building is at an estimated 89 percent completion, scheduled to open its doors next spring.


Various areas of the Campus Center are listed under a planning phase, per the district’s projects list. According to Valley President Barry Gribbons, previous measures are funding construction on academic complex one and academic building two.


“If Measure LA were to pass — once bonds have been issued — that would provide resources for the district to begin additional construction projects, like our infrastructure projects or renovation of art and music,” said Gribbons.


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