State Sitting on Money Intended to Make Schools Earthquake Safe

In 2005, California voters approved a state school bond that included $200 million for seismic repairs. To date, only two school districts have received any money – $3.6 million to build a new gymnasium at the affluent San Ramon Valley High School, and $1 million for two renovation projects at the affluent Piedmont High School.

In a four-page exposé of the management of the state's school building program, Corey G. Johnson of California Watch said the state has made it "virtually impossible" for school districts to get their hands on the bond money.

To dampen demand for the dollars, the Schwarzenegger administration established criteria that limited eligibility to about three dozen buildings among many that might qualify. The Office of Public School Construction narrowed the criteria to only 20 buildings.

Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer, who served in the Schwarzenegger administration and now works for the Brown administration, said he sees no mistakes made in the calculations, and acknowledged that decisions were made to limit the funding. (Source: The Sacramento Bee, April 11.)

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