California State PTA Endorses School Facilities Bond Act of 2016

Today, the Californians for Quality Schools announced that the California State PTA 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 facility and modernization projects throughout the state. For more than 100 years, the California State PTA has promoted the education, health and safety of children, youth and families.  With over 800,000 members, the California State PTA is the largest volunteer advocacy association working exclusively on behalf of all children.

“Children deserve every opportunity we can give them to develop and achieve their full potential – this includes access to high quality school facilities,” said Jenny Hannah, Chair of the Coalition for Adequate School Housing and Chief Facilities Officer at the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. “Too many children are going to school in aging, overcrowded classrooms, libraries and science labs. Passing the state school facilities bond in November and continuing the current school financing program will mean millions more students will learn in new or updated classrooms and attend schools equipped to meet their educational needs.”

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. School facility projects that will be built if the bond passes include: building new school facilities to relieve overcrowding; seismic retrofits to school facilities; career technical education facilities in K-12 and community colleges; science laboratories; and libraries with modern technological resources.

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 effectively 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.

With its endorsement, the California State PTA joins more than 100 school districts, the business community, Democratic and Republican elected state officials, three California State Superintendents, and organized labor in supporting the measure. The full endorsement list can be found here.

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.