In the next few days, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education will discuss the issue of putting a multi-million bond measure on the November ballot that would relieve overcrowding at Los Angeles middle and high school campuses.

The funds would underwrite the cost of modernizing and repairing schools; creating smaller independent campuses; as well as opening charter and specialized schools, according to Superintendent David Brewer.

The proposed bond measure follows on the heels of a recent vote by the school board to transform the majority of the district into small schools by the year 2020.

Under that approved legislation, the district’s larger schools–particularly the high-priority campuses like Jordan, Washington, Dorsey, Fremont, Clay, Bethune and Muir as well as all middle schools–will be transformed into smaller campuses of generally no more than 500 pupils each for high school and elementary (400 for middle school).

LAUSD already schools that contain small learning communities, but the small school initiative takes that concept the next step further. In those locations, where they can not actually build new schools, larger facilities will be divided into smaller, independent organizations each operated autonomously.

But to do this takes money to reconfigure schools using paint, fencing and other techniques.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa added his support to the measure, and said the bond would help break the district “into schools that work for all our kids.”

The district is currently in the final phases of a building program, financed by earlier bonds passed in 1997, 2002, 2004 and 2005, that when completed will result in a total of 132 new schools district wide. The goal of the $12.6 billion building program, which is slated to be completed by 2012, is to enable all district campuses to return to a traditional calendar.

While officials did not pin down a specific figure, when the proposed bond was announced, one figure that has floated around is $3.2 billion.

In order to qualify for the November ballot, the paperwork for the proposed bond must be filed by Aug. 8.