Measure RR would create $7 billion bond for L.A. school renovations without raising tax rates

Election guide
Painting contractor Jose Ortiz tapes a paper mask on along lockers at Oliver Wendell Holmes Middle School in Northridge on Aug. 18, 2020. (Los Angeles Times)

Painting contractor Jose Ortiz tapes a paper mask on along lockers at Oliver Wendell Holmes Middle School in Northridge on Aug. 18, 2020. (Los Angeles Times)

Measure RR asks voters to decide on whether current real estate tax rates should be extended to help fund upgrades at Los Angeles public schools.

Voting yes means the L.A. Unified School District could issue another $7 billion in bonds to upgrade aging facilities, complete earthquake retrofitting and ensure compliance under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some of the money would also go toward renewable energy, greener school buses, and student access under COVID-19 distance learning.

It won’t increase property owners’ tax rates. It will extend the rate for pre-existing LAUSD bonds to 2055, through which it’s expected to generate more than $329.5 million annually.

Voting no means rejecting a new bond for public school facilities improvements. Tax rates would decrease once existing bonds expire.

The measure requires 55% voter approval to pass.

Supporters say:

The district’s Board of Education voted unanimously to put Measure RR on the ballot, saying public schools’ unfunded needs are estimated to exceed $50 billion. They say more than 70% of the district’s buildings were built more than 50 years ago and fall shy of current safety and education standards. Local chambers of commerce and business groups also support the measure.

Critics:

The main opponent is the conservative Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the anti-tax statewide lobbying group named for the man behind 1978’s Proposition 13, which capped property tax increases and thus cut school funding. The group says the bond needlessly extends higher tax rates and argues there should be an exemption for seniors and low-income households.

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