Former Assembly Republican Leader, current Vice Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education and member of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) today announced her 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 bond will provide eligible local school districts with matching state funds to modernize existing facilities and construct necessary new school facilities to ensure that our K-12 and community college students experience a safe and secure learning environment.
“Strategic investment in community infrastructure like schools will create needed jobs and help bolster our still recovering economy,” said Assemblymember Olsen. “By passing the bond in November, voters will continue the successful partnership between state and locals that includes responsible accountability measures to invest in school facilities that will help prepare students for college and beyond.”
If passed, the measure would provide $9 billion to improve deteriorating classroom, make upgrades to classroom technology and computer systems, ensure access to science labs, libraries and career education program facilities, and construct new facilities for elementary, secondary, and community college districts.
The initiative language retains the successful current funding partnership between the state and local entities – the School Facility Program – where 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.
The last statewide school facilities bond was passed by California voters in 2006 and the state’s fund to provide matching dollars for school improvement projects is effectively exhausted. As a result, there is a growing $2 billion backlog of K-12 projects that have submitted applications under the current program’s existing rules and regulations, and another $500 million in approved high priority community college projects awaiting funding, with billions more in identified need. Estimates also project future K-14 school construction funding needs of more than $20 billion over the next decade.
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.