SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gray Davis said Thursday that he supports placing a $10 billion to $12 billion school bond measure before voters next year.
“California schools are in need of serious improvement and repair,” Davis said during an appearance at an Anaheim elementary school.
Placing the issue on a November ballot would require legislative approval when lawmakers return in January.
Davis has previously supported a school bond package worth up to $12 billion in 2002, however the Legislature adjourned its session this summer without approving a measure for the March ballot.
Davis said Thursday he “just wanted to go on record” in support of placing the issue on a March or November ballot. Officials from the secretary of state’s office said that the deadline has passed to place an item on the ballot in March.
Davis said the bond money should be used to build new schools and improve and expand existing facilities, which he said would improve education and create new jobs. The state is facing a $12.4 billion budget deficit in the face of falling revenues and a slumping economy.
Davis has proposed $2.24 billion in cuts to current state spending — including $844 million for school programs — to absorb the shortfall.
School officials welcomed Davis’ renewed support of a bond measure.
“His announcement is going to give us the momentum that we need to put this package together in January when the Legislature returns,” said Kevin Gordon, executive director of the California Association of School Business Officials.