California Governor Signs Historic Education Construction Bond

By SCN Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Assembly Bill 48, the largest school construction bond in the state’s history. His signature places a $15 billion bond on the primary election ballot, which will benefit students in preschools, K-12 public schools, and institutions of higher education.

“This is a historic down payment for safer and healthier school buildings across every level of education, and something that will tangibly benefit millions of Californians for generations to come,” said Newsom in a statement.

“Safe school buildings are critical for all our students. California voters now have the power to equitably fund school construction projects and help ensure that young Californians can go to school in a safe building.”

AB 48 was co-authored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell and Senator Steve Glazer and approved with overwhelming bipartisan support during this year’s legislative session.

According to Governor Newsom’s office, with voter approval, AB 48 will strengthen and upgrade school buildings throughout California—in rural, urban and suburban communities and across every level of education. Funding will be highest for districts that have the greatest needs. The bond will prioritize projects to address mold, remove lead from fixtures, and to make buildings safer in the case of earthquakes. Districts facing severe overcrowding will also be prioritized.

AB 48 includes robust independent audits and accountability measures to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent on schools and schoolchildren, not on administrative red tape. AB 48 funding will be allocated as follows:

  • $9 billion for preschool to K-12
  • $5.2 billion for modernizing schools
  • $2.8 billion for new construction
  • $500 million for career technical education facilities
  • $500 million for charter schools
  • $2 billion for community colleges
  • $2 billion for the California State University
  • $2 billion for the University of California

“School facilities set the tone for the school day. Students cannot succeed if their schools are not clean and safe,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell. “This bill will rehabilitate our classrooms and provide funds for career-technical-education facilities to ensure our high school graduates are prepared for jobs in the modern economy. AB 48 is about investing in our students’ and California’s future.”

Added Senator Glazer, “Our education system is our most important responsibility and gives each student the opportunity to thrive. These bond funds will shore up deteriorating classrooms and provide vital seismic and other safety fixes at schools and universities in every part of California.”

The primary election is scheduled to take place on March 3, 2020.