Californians for Quality Schools today announced former Assemblymember Joan Buchanan’s 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 Buchanan is a strong supporter of the School Facility Program, and previously authored legislation to place a statewide school bond on the ballot.
“School districts up and down the state have made it clear their need is great and our schools can’t wait any longer. Passing the state school bond measure will ensure districts across California retain the state as a reliable investment partner to build new classrooms to alleviate overcrowding and rehabilitate aging facilities to ensure our children have safe, well-resourced schools for children,” said former Assemblymember Buchanan.
If passed, the measure will provide $9 billion to fund classroom renovation, access to science labs, libraries and facilities that support career education programs, 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 that are eligible for state matching funds to help maximize taxpayer investment. This program – the School Facility Program – was signed into law in 1998. 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. The state’s fund to provide matching dollars to school districts that have already raised local funds for school construction projects has been depleted, leaving a backlog of $2 billion in K-12 projects and $500 million in community college projects, with billions more in identified need. With current 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.