Los Angeles' community colleges are an underappreciated treasure of this region. They are the door through which our immigrant culture enters the American workforce -- the educator of nurses and firefighters, and professionals of all types. What's more, in contrast to L.A.'s public schools, the Los Angeles Community College District is a responsibly run system with a record of fiscal and educational success. It has earned voter support for its latest bond issue, Measure J.
District officials are asking the public to approve $3.5 billion in bonds, and are proposing to spend the money upgrading the technology in classrooms at its nine colleges. If this sounds familiar, it's because the district has come to voters before; two previous issues totaled $2.2 billion, but the projects that money paid for are now largely complete. And unlike those in Measure Q, the new projects in Measure J are detailed and specific.
As it is, property owners in Los Angeles pay $17 for every $100,000 of assessed value to the community colleges. If approved, this measure would not alter that, though it would extend the repayment of the district's debt an additional 10 years, so taxes that would otherwise have expired would remain with us for a decade longer. Fortunately, the district has managed its debt responsibly in recent years, and there is no reason to think that will change.