On March 3, 2020, California voters will decide on a measure that will designate $9 billion for preschool through high school, $2 billion for community colleges, $2 billion for the University of California and $2 billion for California State University. Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 48 (AB 48) early last month to fund the renovation of aging school buildings. Voters will have a chance to decide on the fate of the $15 billion in bond fund during the March Primary. According to the Sacramento Bee, there are about 6.2 million California children attending K-12 schools, but the state Department of Finance projects that number will decline by 250,000 children over the next five years. The bill’s author, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, stated the following,
Our school facilities at all levels across this state are in subpar condition and need a major investment. It’s a good chunk of money for a huge challenge.
According to polling from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, two-thirds of California adults and 54 percent of likely voters say they support the bond measure. The breakdown of the $9 billion for pre-k through high school funding is as follows: $2.8 billion for new construction, $5.2 billion for modernization, and half a billion each for charter schools and career technical education. The state budget this year included over $30 million to expand enrollment in the state’s preschool program, over $260 million for early learning and child care facilities and $195 million to train preschool teachers and caregivers. According to an Assembly committee analysis, one of the downsides of the bond is that it could require $12.4 billion in interest payments. We will have to wait and see what voters decide in March 2020.