Capitol Alert

Proposed November school bond all but dead

Californians’ ballots this fall are all but certain to lack a proposed $4.3 billion school bond, even though the legislation cleared a key Senate committee this week.

This past Wednesday had been described as the absolute deadline to get a revised water bond on the fall ballot. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure that evening, and Secretary of State Debra Bowen has requested ballot arguments for a second voter guide that will include the water bond, Proposition 1.

But any window to tack on a school bond measure effectively shuts as soon as Saturday or possibly early next week because election officials have warned that further delays jeopardize the carrying out of the Nov. 4 election. Supporters of the bond say the current school-bond account is empty amid a huge need to build classrooms and modernize existing ones.

“I’m just not that confident we get it done,” Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, the author of Assembly Bill 2235, said Friday. “When the Legislature wants to get something done, there is a way. But I’m just not sure there’s a will to put a school bond on the ballot this year.”

The bill passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, its last stop before going to the Senate floor. The measure earlier passed the Assembly, where it would need to return for final approval before going to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

The Legislature won’t be back until Monday and there was no indication Friday that there will be rapid-fire floor votes to send the measure to Brown early next week. Brown’s office, meanwhile, has made clear that it opposes the measure, citing the cost of the borrowing and debt.

Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, the bond measure’s co-author, said he hasn’t given up on passing a bond measure Monday or Tuesday, which he called the “drop-drop-dead deadline for all practical purposes.

“There’s still a possibility it can happen but the governor has shown no willingness to roll up his sleeves and work with us,” Hagman said.