SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Unified School District's proposed $2.8 billion bond measure appeared to be heading toward victory early Wednesday.
With 65 percent of the vote tallied, Proposition Z, the "San Diego Neighborhood Schools Classroom Safety and Repair Measure of 2012," was narrowly surpassing the 55 percent needed for passage.
District officials said the funds generated by the bond would fund projects including asbestos and mold removal; wiring, plumbing and roof repairs; and ongoing maintenance. It would also go toward improvements in disabled access and upgraded fire alarms and security systems.
"This is San Diego money going to San Diego schools that Sacramento cannot touch," said John Lee Evans, president of the Board of Education, in an interview with a local TV station. "This is an indication that the people of San Diego really believe in our public schools."
If Proposition Z fails, funding for the technology education program would end, according to the district.
The proposed bond issue would add a maximum of $60 in taxes per $100,000 of assessed value of properties within the district's boundaries, according to the district. The district would establish an oversight committee and conventional financing would be used, not capital appreciation bonds.
Voters approved a $2.1 billion bond issue in 2008. Opponents argued the district had yet to spend the majority of the money authorized under that bond, and should finish those projects before increasing taxes again. The proposed bond issue also lacks safeguards against balloon payments or high-interest financing, opponents contend, adding that long-term financing should not be used on technology that would only be used
for a few years.
Ballot counting also put Board of Education President John Lee Evans into a lead in his re-election bid. The psychologist and former teacher -- who came in second place in the June primary -- led university instructor Mark Powell, 52.1 percent to 47.9 percent, with about two-thirds of the precincts counted.
Powell said he could no longer stand by as education was undermined by misguided leadership and poor decisions.
Evans said the district has come a long way in four years, despite the worst budget crisis in a generation. During his term, the district spared 1,500 teachers from layoffs, cut millions in administration costs and saw
improvements in students' test scores, Evans said.
Board member Richard Barrera was running unopposed to represent south and central San Diego's sub-district D.
Marne Foster defeated William Ponder in the election to replace outgoing Trustee Shelia Jackson, who represents Southeast San Diego. Foster is a community college teacher and administrator, and Ponder worked as a teacher and university administrator before retiring and has written two books on