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When California voters were asked to approve a multibillion-dollar statewide school bond in 2016, billed as a needed injection of cash to repair crumbling buildings and build new facilities, then-Gov. Jerry Brown made it clear he wouldn’t be supporting the measure because he felt that the requirements of receiving the money meant that wealthy districts would be first in line, which could deepen school inequality.
A review of the funds received so far by San Diego County schools shows that so far, Brown was right. And not only that, but many of the funds actually went toward projects completed long before the bond was passed.
“A Voice of San Diego review found most of the money that ended up in the county – about 81 percent – has gone toward school construction projects completed months or even years before Prop. 51 was approved, and millions have gone toward building new schools in affluent neighborhoods,” reports VOSD’s Ashly McGlone. “In fact, state data shows five of the six largest Prop. 51 allocations in the region went toward the construction of new schools built before Prop. 51 passed in neighborhoods with less than 30 percent of students eligible for free or reduced priced meals.”
State legislators have decided to ask voters yet again to approve billions in school bond money in 2020. This time, they’ve decided to rework the formula.
This weekend marked Gov. Gavin Newsom’s last chance to sign or veto state bills passed this year. That means over the last week, he signed dozens of measures into law. We recounted the most notable ones in this week’s Sacramento Report. They include: a bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to end forced arbitration contracts as a condition of employment – something that gained notoriety thanks to the #MeToo movement as a tool to help silence employees who endured harassment or abuse, as well as a bill by Assemblyman Todd Gloria banning firearms and ammunition sales at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Other bills Newom just signed will have an impact here too: One new law expands who can take advantage of gun violence restraining orders, a tool that has been used aggressively by San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott.
Another bill bans private prisons in California. Maya Srikrishnan recently explored how that would work in San Diego County, which is home to an ICE detention facility. The verdict: No one really knows.
Two bills signed this weekend were inspired by Voice of San Diego coverage: AB 1747 by Gonzalez limits sharing of state databases with federal immigration authorities. It was inspired by this Maya Srikrishnan story showing that immigrants who’d applied for state driver’s licenses were soon apprehended by immigration authorities who had information they’d provided to the state.
And AB 262 by Gloria clarifies the role of public health officials, following Lisa Halverstadt’s blockbuster coverage of the hepatitis A crisis.
Speaking of state lawmakers …
State Sen. Ben Hueso reflected on his time in Sacramento (including his 2014 DUI arrest) as he looks to make a comeback in local politics.
One of the bills Newsom signed this week was written by Hueso and takes a step toward instituting new suicide barrier solutions for the Coronado Bridge. A man jumped to his death from the bridge this weekend.
The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby.