Assemblymember Rocky Chávez Endorses School Facilities Bond Act of 2016

Today, the Californians for Quality Schools campaign announced that Assemblymember Rocky Chávez has endorsed the Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016. The measure, which will appear on the November 2016 ballot, is a $9 billion state school facilities bond to adequately fund K-12 and community college school construction and modernization projects throughout the state. Assemblymember Chávez serves as the Vice Chair of the California State Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs, and highlighted how the bond can help support returning veterans transition to the civilian workforce.

“Veterans returning from military service deserve to return to strong, supportive communities that are equipped to support their transition into the civilian workforce,” said Assemblymember Chávez. “By passing the school facilities bond, community colleges will have access to the funds needed to build and upgrade campuses to support job training and vocational education programs. These programs are needed to support our returning veterans. We need to pass the bond in November.”

The initiative language retains the successful current funding partnership between the state and local entities, where eligible school districts raise local dollars and then apply for matching state funds to help maximize taxpayer investment. The measure will also maintain school district authority to levy fees on developers to ensure they pay their fair share of school facility costs. This program – the School Facility Program – was signed into law in 1998. If the measure passes, the program will continue and communities will have the ability to upgrade aging facilities to meet current health and safety standards and educational needs, and to build new facilities. It will also allow communities to invest in community college facilities that support job-training programs. Research demonstrates that infrastructure investment – like school construction – will yield economic benefits as well, with studies showing that 13,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion of infrastructure investment.

The last statewide school facilities bond was passed by California voters in 2006. The state’s fund to provide matching dollars to school districts that have already raised local funds for school construction projects has been depleted, leaving a backlog of $2 billion in K-12 project applications and almost $500 million in approved community college projects, with billions more in identified need. With estimates placing K-14 school construction funding needs for the next decade at more than $20 billion, the $9 billion bond will be a significant step forward to address the state’s school construction needs.

The Coalition for Adequate School Housing, which has served as a strong advocate for K-12 facilities funding since 1978, partnered with the California Building Industry Association to qualify the initiative for the November 2016 ballot.

For more information on the Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016, please visit www.CaliforniansForQualitySchools.com.