The California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted to support the Kindergarten through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016, which is on the November General Election ballot. (8/11/16 update: The measure will appear on the ballot as Proposition 51.)
If approved by voters, this November ballot initiative will authorize the state to issue $9 billion in general obligation bonds to fund K–12 school facilities and facilities for the California Community Colleges, and would continue the School Facility Program established by the Legislature in 1998.
“The strength of our economy relies on the strength of our workforce,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg. “Strategic, accountable investment from the state, local districts, and the business community is required so that new schools are built to accommodate growth and aging facilities are revitalized to support a 21st century education. Retaining this investment partnership will prepare today’s students to be successful in tomorrow’s competitive economy.”
The $9 billion in bonds would be allocated as follows:
• $3 billion for construction of new K–12 school facilities.
• $3 billion for modernizing existing K–12 school facilities.
• $500 million for charter school facilities.
• $500 million for facilities for career technical education programs.
• $2 billion for California Community College facilities.
School Facility Program
The initiative continues the highly successful partnership established by the School Facility Program in 1998, ensuring that the state, local school districts and builders in new growth areas partner to provide the financing necessary to construct and improve school facilities throughout the state.
The CalChamber believes the state should continue the School Facility Program and its use of general obligation bonds to support school facilities because the alternative—forcing local governments to raise property tax rates significantly and levy much higher developer fees—will limit the development of new affordable housing.
According to state figures, since 1998, new classroom space has been built for more than 1.3 million students, and existing facilities serving more than 3.4 million students have been modernized and improved.
Since 1998, the state has covered nearly one-third the costs of school facilities and approximately 14% of the cost of community college facilities using state bonds.
The CalChamber has supported all 41 education facilities bond measures placed on the ballot since 1949.