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February 14, 2000

UC Board of Regents supports Proposition 26

By UC Office of the President

The UC Board of Regents has adopted a resolution in support of Proposition 26 on California's March 7 ballot. The measure would allow voter approval of local school bond issues by a simple majority rather than the current two-thirds vote requirement.

If passed, the proposition, known as the Majority Rule Act for Smaller Classes, Safer Schools and Financial Accountability, would affect local school districts, community college districts, and county education offices throughout California.

"Because it would impact the capability of K-12 schools to fund improved teaching environments and foster higher student achievement, the act may ultimately enhance the preparedness of high-school students for enrollment and academic success at UC campuses," UC President Richard C. Atkinson said.

California's K-12 public school enrollment is expected to increase by nearly one million students over the next decade, with approximately 63,000 of the additional students likely to attend UC campuses by 2010. To maintain state-mandated class-size reductions, this growth will require the construction of new schools and the hiring of new teachers as well as improvements for existing facilities to fulfill California's K-12 education goals.

The CSU Board of Trustees also has voted to support the proposition. The initiative has been endorsed by the California Teachers Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, and the California School Boards Association, among others. Proposition 26 is opposed by "Save Our Homes," a group formed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Organization, which argues that the two-thirds standard protects property owners who are responsible for repaying any school bonds that are approved by the voters.

Nationwide, 38 states allow majority approval of school bonds, while only California and New Hampshire require a two-thirds vote for local school bonds.

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