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Los Angeles Unified School District bond proposition, Measure Q (November 2008)

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A Los Angeles Unified School District bond proposition, Measure Q ballot question was on the November 4, 2008 ballot for voters in the Los Angeles Unified School District in Los Angeles County, where it was approved.

Measure Q authorized the Los Angeles Unified School District to borrow $7 billion. This was the largest local school bond in the history of California.

A 55 percent supermajority vote was required for approval.

The vote on Measure Q represented the fifth time in eleven years that voters in the LAUSD were asked to approve a bond.

Election results

Measure Q
Approveda Yes 885,467 69.11%
These final, certified, election results are from the Los Angeles County elections office.


Those who supported Measure Q wanted to make the older schools in LAUSD comparable to new ones.[1]

Q was supported by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, but groups that would traditionally support a school bond have been lukewarm about this one, even those that have endorsed it.[2]

"We don't want to hurt public education, but at the same time it's a deeply flawed measure," said Gary Larson, spokesman for the California Charter Schools Association.[3]


The measure was endorsed by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.[4]

Arguments in favor

  • "It earmarks $450 million to provide independent charter schools with facilities equivalent to those of regular schools."[5]
  • It doesn't increase taxes
  • "It will stimulate the economy in the years to come, providing 85,000 new jobs."[6]
  • " It will address an upturn in enrollment forecast to begin in 2015."[7]


The measure has been said to have little financed, organized opposition.[8]

Arguments against

  • Los Angeles Unified has already passed four multi-billion dollar bonds in the last ten years[9]
  • The measure is not specific enough as to how the district would spend the money.[10]
  • LAUSD has asked for money based on "the maximum the district's consultants figured voters would stand - not based on what the district said it actually needed for specific projects."[11]
  • The district still has nearly $6 billion in bond money left from previous measures[12]
  • The district has not demonstrated a need for the monies as enrollment is projected to continue to drop through 2015.[13]

Newspaper endorsements


  • The Daily Breeze claimed "The main idea behind the new bond measure is one of equity - to give all students an environment conducive to learning in the 21st century."[14]


  • The Los Angeles Times stated, "Measure Q is far too vague for voters to risk $7 billion on future, unspecified L.A. Unified expenses."[15]
  • Daily News Los Angeles also urged a "no" vote, writing, "LAUSD officials haven't demonstrated a real need," and affirmed that enrollment in LAUSD is dropping, not rising, and will continue to drop for at least seven years.[16]
  • The Daily Bruin did not support the measure as it "worries about how funds are earmarked and the lack of specific earmarking."[17]

Concern about electioneering

A mailer paid for by the Los Angeles Unified School District came very close to electioneering, according to critics.[18]

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:

MEASURE Q: "To improve student health, safety and educational quality, shall the Los Angeles Unified School District: continue repair/upgrade of aging/deteriorating classrooms, restrooms; upgrade fire/earthquake safety; reduce asbestos, lead paint, air pollution, water quality hazards; build/upgrade specialized classrooms students need to meet job/college requirements; improve classroom Internet access by issuing $7 billion in bonds, at legal interest rates; with guaranteed annual audits, citizens’ oversight, no increase in maximum tax rate?"[19]

See also

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