The California Chamber of Commerce is urging its members to support Proposition 51, the Kindergarten through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016, which is on the General Election Ballot.
Proposition 51 authorizes $9 billion in general obligation bonds for new construction and modernizing K–12 public schools, charter schools and vocational education, and California Community College facilities.
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.
CalChamber Reasons for Position
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. CalChamber has supported all 41 education facilities bond measures placed on the ballot since 1949.
On September 9 the San Francisco Chronicle noted that there are more than 8 million students in California K-12 and community college system. However, “their campuses and schools are outdated and run down, ill-suited for technology and vocational training, plainly unsafe or barely habitable,” the editorial states.
The editorial explains that typically these deficiencies are addressed when school districts pass local bond measures, “…the customary expectation that Sacramento would chip in with additional money has faded. That’s where Prop. 51 steps in by creating a statewide pot.”
The Chronicle recommends a yes vote on the measure because it will “…go a long way in modernizing schools and community colleges across California.”
Also recommending a yes vote on Proposition 51 is the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. The editorial points to a lot of the same concerns that California business has: preparing students for college and careers.
“Local voters have been generous with public schools,” the Press-Democrat wrote on October 1, “and there would be opportunities to leverage those dollars if the state’s fund for construction and repairs is recharged.
The Modesto Bee supports Proposition 51 because the measure would significantly benefit the 24 school districts in the area. Combined, it could mean $149 million in new facilities in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, according to the Bee.
“Too many Valley districts are forced into choosing between making repairs to keep students safe and investing in the updates and innovations that will prepare students for 21st-century jobs,” the Bee wrote on October 13. “By necessity, those choices veer toward safety and away from a better future.”
For more information on Proposition 51, visit www.yeson51.com