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State schools chief wants lawmakers to approve new bond measure

Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said Tuesday he would like state lawmakers to place a new school bond on the ballot in 2014.

"The need is definitely there," he said in an interview. "The accounts are empty."

Torlakson said California's public schools need more than $100 billion to pay for new buildings as well as renovation and updating of existing buildings. Any bond would be a fraction of that amount.

The state's last school bond was approved in June 2006. Torlakson said nearly all of the $10.4 billion in that bond has been spent.

When asked about the idea, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), said his first priority would be to tweak, and probably shrink, a water bond scheduled for the 2014 ballot. The water plan was originally scheduled for the 2012 ballot, but was delayed by lawmakers at the request of Gov. Jerry Brown, who thought the measure could interfere with his call for higher taxes this year.

With their two-thirds majorities in both legislative houses, Democrats could place a bond measure on the ballot without any Republican support.

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-- Anthony York in Sacramento

 
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