Today, Californians for Quality Schools announced receiving Assemblymember Luis Alejo’s (D-Salinas) endorsement of the Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016, a $9 billion state school bond to fund school construction projects such as building new schools, modernizing classrooms to enable technology-based learning, and retrofitting schools with health and safety improvements. Assemblymember Alejo represents portions of Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, and also serves as the Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus.
“There are billions of dollars in school facility needs throughout the state, and much of that need is in districts represented by members of the Latino Legislative Caucus,” said Assemblymember Alejo. “For years, the state has been a critical partner in funding school facilities, and passage of a state school bond in November will make sure all students have access to safe schools with the facilities needed to guarantee access to a quality education.”
If passed, the measure would provide $9 billion to make health and safety upgrades to improve aging classrooms, ensure access to science labs, libraries and career education program facilities, and construct necessary new facilities for elementary, secondary, and community college districts.
The initiative language retains the successful current funding partnership between the state and local entities, where school districts raise local dollars and then apply for matching state funds to help maximize taxpayer investment. The measure will 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.
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 projects and $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 future 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.