December 16, 2009 4:21 PM

SACRAMENTO • State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell is championing a new $10 billion state school construction bond, even as California hasn’t been able to sell more than $50 billion in bonds voters already approved.

O’Connell testified Tuesday before the Senate Select Committee on School Facilities, where he stressed the urgency of a bond that would modernize schools, curb classroom overcrowding and put people back to work.
California needs $9.7 billion to improve school facilities and another $200 million for career technical education construction projects, according to O’Connell.

“It’s not a tax, it’s a commitment to the state general fund,” O’Connell said. “I would argue that if you want to have a growing, expanding economy and less unemployment, you want to have a bond measure for our schools.”

The vehicle for the school facilities bond is Assembly Bill 220, by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, which aims to place a major school construction bond on the next statewide ballot.
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Natasha Lindstrom may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at