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Letter: School bond bill will help update schools left behind during recession

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Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 10:47 pm

The importance of education to the Central Valley cannot be understated. Updating and modernizing our existing schools and building new schools will help us improve our literacy rates, improve our employments rates, and aid us in keeping kids away from gangs and drugs.

During the Great Recession, with steep cuts to school districts, routine maintenance was slashed and technology upgrades disappeared. Many neighborhood K-12 schools have deteriorated, leaving students in facilities that disrupt the learning environment.

Children benefit tremendously from investments to repair deteriorating classrooms, bathrooms and leaky roofs; remove mold and other hazardous materials, and retrofitting older school buildings to meet current building standards. Modernization is how the latest technology reaches the classroom.

A well-educated and highly skilled workforce is essential to the Central Valley’s long-term economic prosperity.

California has a historically successful model of state partnership with local school districts to share funding for new school construction, classroom renovation and modernization. When a local school district passes a school bond measure, the district can become eligible to receive matching funds from the state.

But the state hasn’t passed a statewide bond since 2006. Unless a statewide school bond measure is approved, many communities like ours are going to be left to come up with the resources to cover the state’s share.

We are long overdue for the kind of comprehensive investment and economic boost that such a bond would initiate.

AB 2235, the statewide school bond bill, has bipartisan support but has not yet been signed by Gov. Brown. Please ask Gov. Brown to sign AB 2235 so that California voters can vote to fund school construction this November.

John R. Beckman

Chief Executive Officer

Building Industry Association of the Greater Valley

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