Today, the Californians for Quality Schools campaign announced receiving California Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes’ (R-Yucca Valley) endorsement of the Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016, a $9 billion state school facilities bond that will appear on the November 2016 ballot. If passed, the measure will continue the highly successful and effective School Facility Program in which local school districts partner with the state to provide the financing necessary to ensure safe and secure public school facilities for students.
“California’s current school facilities funding program is recognized as a successful investment partnership that has built many school buildings throughout the state,” said Republican Leader Mayes. “By passing the November school facilities bond, we demonstrate that our priority is on the continued growth and progress of our K-12 and community college students.”
Since it was signed into law in 1998, California’s School Facility Program has overseen the construction or modernizations of safe and secure schools for over 4 million children. It has been nearly ten years since California last passed a state school bond, and the state fund that provides matching funds to local school districts has been nearly depleted. As a result, there is a growing $2 billion backlog of K-12 projects that have submitted under the current program’s existing rules and regulations, and another $500 million in approved high priority community college projects, with billions more in identified need. Estimates also project future school construction funding needs of more than $20 billion over the next decade.
If the measure is successful, 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 to keep quality post-secondary education affordable for middle-class families and returning veterans. Research also shows 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 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.