AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “We have the demand for school construction and need a plan to make sure our kids are in adequate facilities,” he said. Runner authored the bill as part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Strategic Growth Plan introduced during this month’s State of the State address that focuses on improvements for transportation, water, public safety, public service infrastructure and education. The bill applies to construction of elementary, middle and high schools, community colleges, higher education, vocational education and charter school facilities. Bonds would pay for bricks and mortar building projects and still require a one-half match from school districts applying for the funds. Locally, the Newhall and Castaic Union school districts are preparing to build up to five elementary schools to accommodate the proposed 21,000-home Newhall Ranch project. About $1 billion in the bill was set aside specifically for vocational and technical schools to build more auto shops, computer design schools and the like for students who are not pursuing college. That aspect of the bill is likely to win over some Santa Clarita parents who recently urged William S. Hart Union High School District officials to better prepare students pursuing vocational careers. Residents said that there’s not enough being done in local high schools to help these students and that too much of the district’s curriculum focuses on preparing those who are college-bound. Money has also been set aside within the school construction bond to build smaller high schools and charter schools. Community colleges would also be relieved of the Field Act, an extra layer of building earthquake inspections. Runner said the act doesn’t apply to schools in the California State University and University of California systems and shouldn’t apply to community colleges either. He said that, in the end, it could save community colleges with some construction costs. Regulations such as the Field Act hold up construction for new school facilities, said Dianne Van Hook, superintendent and president of College of the Canyons. “Community colleges pride themselves on responding quickly to the emerging needs of students and local business and industry,” she said. “However, we are often hampered by cumbersome regulations like the Field Act that are barriers to carrying out our mission.” If the bill passes, the proposed 10-year schedule voters would see at the polls is: $12.4 billion in 2006; $4.2 billion in 2008; $7.7 billion in 2010; $8.7 billion in 2012 and $5 billion in 2014. Sue Doyle,(661) 257-5254 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – An education bill making its way through Sacramento could ultimately ask voters to approve $38 billion worth of funding over the next 10 years to build new California schools and update old ones. If the bill eventually is approved, residents every two years would vote on five different school construction bonds and could find the first on their ballots as early as this year, when they’ll be asked to approve a $12.4 billion bond, the largest one proposed. Hearings for the School Construction Bond started Wednesday and come at a time when money is running thin from previously passed school bonds, state Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, said Thursday. Runner’s district covers much of the Santa Clarita Valley. Runner said funds for modernization projects will be exhausted this spring, while dollars for new school construction will be depleted in about a year and a half.