Californians for Quality Schools today announced receiving State Senator and former Republican Senate Leader Bob Huff’s (R- San Dimas) 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.
“Too many school districts across the state of California – small, rural, and low income districts – would struggle to meet school facility needs without the state’s partnership,” said Senator Huff. “The current program has a long track record of success: providing good paying jobs for communities and building modern, safe schools for children. We need to stay the course and pass a state school bond in November.”
If passed, the measure would provide $9 billion to improve aging classrooms, 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 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.