California State PTA supports the Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020.
If approved by voters in the March 2020, election, the act authorizes a $15 billion bond to construct and modernize school facilities. It also changes the way the funds are allocated to school districts, with special provisions for small districts and communities that can’t raise local funds.
(Please note: This school facility bond measure is also known as Proposition 13, but it is completely unrelated to the 1978 property tax ballot initiative also known as Prop 13. For a handy infographic that explains the differences between the two, click here.)
WHAT WILL THIS BALLOT MEASURE DO?
The ballot measure would authorize the state to issue $15 billion in bonds to be used for K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. The funding will be allocated as follows:
- K-12 public schools — $9 billion
- $2.8 billion for new construction
- $5.2 billion for modernization (including $250 million for a new Lead in Water Testing and Remediation program)
- $500 million for Career Technical Education facilities
- $500 million for charter school facilities
- Community Colleges — $2 billion
- University of California — $2 billion
- California State University — $2 billion
School districts generally apply to the state for construction and modernization funding and receive grants on a first-come, first-served basis. This initiative will change the distribution process to focus on the neediest school districts, based on the number of students who are English learners, low income or in foster care. Up to 10 percent of the construction and modernization funding for K-12 will be set aside for small districts, which often lack the staff and resources to get in line quickly for state grants. Small districts will get technical assistance to plan and complete projects.
Generally, school districts must have a local source of construction money (such as a local school facilities bond) to qualify for state funding. Under this initiative, some districts that are not able to raise local funds will be eligible for full funding from the state.
The bond will provide funding for district-run preschools, broadband internet installation, seismic mitigation, and nursing or counseling facilities. The bond also includes $150 million in priority funding to test for lead in school water systems and replace systems where contaminated water is found.
AB 48 was passed by the State Legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. It must be approved by voters before going into effect.
The last state school facilities bond was approved by voters in 2016. All of this funding has been spent or allocated.
WHY DOES CALIFORNIA STATE PTA SUPPORT THIS BALLOT MEASURE?
California State PTA members have adopted numerous resolutions at State Conventions advocating for safe and modern school facilities for K-12 schools and preschools.