Since 1914, 42 education-related bond measures have appeared on the ballot in California, and all of them were legislatively-referred. In 2014, legislators tried to place a legislatively-referred bond act that called for $9 billion for school maintenance and construction on the ballot. The legislation passed the California State Assembly, but Gov. Jerry Brown opposed it before it could pass the California State Senate, and so it did not qualify for the 2014 ballot. The California Public School Facility Bond Initiative will be the first education-related bond measure to appear on the ballot since 2006, and it is the first ever education-related bond measure that was citizen initiated.
The California Public School Facility Bonds Initiative, also known as Proposition 51, authorizes $9 billion in general obligation bonds for new construction and modernization of K-12 public school facilities; charter schools, vocational education facilities; and California Community Colleges facilities.
Fiscal Impact: State costs of about $17.6 billion to pay off both the principal ($9 billion) and interest ($8.6 billion) on the bonds. This will amount to payments of about $500 million per year for 35 years.
The proceeds from the $9 billion in bonds that would be issued if voters approve Proposition 51 would be stored in a 2016 State School Facilities Fund and a 2016 California Community College Capital Outlay Bond Fund. Proceeds would be allocated for the following purposes:
• $3 billion for the construction of new school facilities;
• $500 million for providing facilities for charter schools;
• $3 billion for the modernization of school facilities;
• $500 million for providing facilities for career technical education programs; and
• $2 billion for acquiring, constructing, renovating, and equipping community college facilities.
A “yes” vote supports the state issuing $9 billion in bonds to fund improvement and construction of school facilities for K-12 schools and community colleges.
A “no” vote opposes the state issuing $9 billion in new debt to fund the improvement and construction of education facilities.