State Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine) has introduced a bill that could help Newport-Mesa Unified qualify for its first state money to modernize and upgrade school buildings. The district never has been eligible for such funds because its schools are too new and its communities too wealthy. Moreover, while some schools, such as Andersen Elementary, are so crowded that parents are screaming for more space, others have been closed because of a lack of students.
But because the $9.2-billion school bond measure approved by voters in November has more flexible requirements, the district may get a piece of the building-fund pie. The only problem is the state may not allow the district to apply.