Governor vetoes bond audit legislation

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that sought to clarify for school districts the content of performance audits required under Proposition 39 bond financing.

AB125, by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, would have authorized districts using newly approved bond money to include in annual performance audits specific project-related information including construction costs, management fees, change orders and schedules.

Proposition 39, approved by voters in 2000, lowered the voting threshold for approving local school facilities bonds from a two-thirds majority to 55 percent. It also required districts to provide charter schools with reasonably equivalent facilities for their students. And the measure required that districts conduct an independent financial and performance audit to ensure that the bond money was used only for the projects that voters had approved.

But Ma said districts were given no direction of exactly what should be included in the review audit.

Schwarzenegger, noting that the bill only authorized the inclusion of certain items, vetoed the bill. This bill is unnecessary, the governor wrote in his veto message, because it simply provides legislative authorization to include content in the audit. Nothing in current law prohibits a district from including those elements today, even in the absence of this measure, he wrote.

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