Mendoza pushes for facilities bond on 2016 ballot

MONTEBELLO − Sen. Tony Mendoza told a gathering of regional education officials last Friday that he’d support a statewide facilities bond to increase funding for school infrastructure needs. “If the state passes the bond, it’s like a new credit card bill for 30 years,” he said. “But it’s a very good investment. Our schools will benefit and our kids will benefit.”

Mendoza, who sits on the Senate Education Committee, made the comments on the campus of Applied Technology Center High School in Montebello during an address on the state of education in the 32nd district.

The former Los Angeles Unified School District teacher reiterated his support for the local schools in his district, which encompasses the majority of southeast L.A County. Mendoza vowed his support through not only state funding, but also a series of Senate bills intended to bolster student health and curriculum.

“You know my background, you know where I stand. We want to make sure we get as many resources back to our classrooms – that’s always been my intent,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza’s proposed education bills include measures to increase oversight of charter schools, eliminate drug manufacturing near schools, mandate immunizations for all child care workers, and expand dual language student programs.

Edgar Cabral, fiscal and policy analyst for the non-partisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office, also spoke during the education meeting, previewing Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2015-2016 spending plan.

“There will be more money in the budget [for education] than last year – an additional $1-2 billion,” he said. “We’re going back to the levels of spending we had in 2007-08.”

Cabral said the new funds will most likely go towards technical education and adult education, which suffered the most cuts after the Great Recession. However, Cabral maintained that Brown is hesitant to sign off on any new tax or bond measures for school infrastructure.

Wary of going into more debt, Brown is suggesting school districts rely on historically successful local bond measures for infrastructure updates, Cabral said.

Cabral also said Brown does not want to campaign for a statewide facilities bond as Proposition 30 expires. The 2012 measure increased personal income taxes for seven years in California in order to prevent nearly $6 billion in education cuts. Cabral believes the state will seek to renew the tax increases in 2018.

“The governor is looking long term,” said Mendoza in response. “But I believe he has certain expectations that are unreal.”