Proposition 47 Proposes to Relieve Overcrowding and Fund Construction at California's Public Schools and Universities
(September 12, 2002) Among many decisions before California voters on the Nov. 5 ballot is Proposition 47, the Kindergarten through University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2002. It would authorize the state to issue $13.05 billion in general obligation bonds for construction and renovation of public education facilities.
If approved, Prop. 47 will fund construction of new classrooms, modernization of existing school facilities, seismic upgrades and high-tech equipment installations necessary to accommodate unprecedented student enrollments in all levels of public education from kindergarten through university. The measure, which requires a simple majority vote to pass, would allocate $11.4 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade projects, and $1.6 billion for higher education projects at the California State University, University of California and California Community Colleges.
Included in the package is $496 million to renovate aging facilities and build new classrooms to accommodate 130,000 additional students expected at the 23 campuses of the California State University system by the end of the decade.
The bonds would be repaid from state revenues over 30 years, and would not increase or create new taxes. Annual audits will strictly monitor the use of Prop. 47 funds to ensure that funds aren't used for any other purpose than defined in the bond language. Bond money cannot be used for salaries or other administrative expenses.
Trustees of the California State University approved a resolution supporting the bond in May. "More than half of CSU facilities, including science, computer and research laboratories, are more than 28 years old and badly in need of renovation," said Debra S. Farar, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees. "In addition, more facilities are critically needed at all CSU campuses to accommodate skyrocketing student enrollment."
Historically, the CSU as well as other higher education institutions and the public schools in California have relied on voter-approved general obligation bonds to pay for capital construction projects since those typically are not funded through the state's General Fund.
Proponents of Prop. 47 say that the measure is necessary because one of every three elementary and secondary school students attends an overcrowded school or one that needs modernization. It is estimated that 46,000 new classrooms are needed to relieve overcrowding and accommodate new students in elementary and secondary schools in the next five years. Likewise, the community colleges, the CSU and UC systems are experiencing growing enrollment demand. The three higher education systems, which enroll 2.3 million students combined, expect more than 700,000 additional students before 2010.
While conceding that old and inadequate school facilities in California are a serious problem that needs to be addressed, opponents of Prop. 47 have argued that taking on more bond debt could harm the state's finances. They also have said that the state school construction process takes too long for new schools to be built.
Prop. 47 is the first of a two-part bond request that will fund education projects over the next four years. The second proposition will appear on the ballot in March 2004.
If the bond measure is approved by voters, it will provide funds to the following projects at California State University campuses.
CSU CHANNEL ISLANDS
CSU CHICO (Total: $34,329,000)
CSU DOMINGUEZ HILLS (Total: $6,657,000)
FRESNO STATE (Total: $20,107,000)
CSU FULLERTON (Total: $17,360,000)
CSU LONG BEACH (Total: $22,863,000)
CAL STATE LOS ANGELES
MARITIME ACADEMY (Total: $2,338,000)
CSU MONTEREY BAY (Total: $15,299,000)
CAL POLY POMONA
CSU SAN BERNARDINO
SAN DIEGO STATE (Total: $40,437,000)
SAN FRANCISCO STATE (Total: $14,818,000)
SAN JOSE STATE (Total: $34,736,000)
CAL POLY SAN LUIS OBISPO (Total: $37,378,000)
CSU SAN MARCOS (Total: $9,417,000)
CSU STANISLAUS (Total: $47,998,000)
SYSTEMWIDE MINOR CAPITAL OUTLAY PROJECTS (2002/04) $32,000,000
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, more than 400,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See www.calstate.edu.
Contact: Clara Potes-Fellow, (562) 951-4806, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: 12 September 2002