The new Proposition 13: A $15 billion bond for school facilities
What it would do:
This Proposition 13 would authorize a $15 billion bond for school modernization and construction projects. Here’s how it would break down: $9 billion for K-12 schools ,and $2 billion each for community colleges and the state’s two public university systems, the California State University and University of California.
What it would cost taxpayers:
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates it would cost the state about $740 million a year over the next 35 years to repay the costs of the bond, with interest. That’s a total estimated cost of $26 billion: the bond itself plus an added $11 billion in interest.
Why it’s on the ballot:
Lawmakers, Democrat and Republican, overwhelmingly voted to put this on the ballot, stressing California’s urgent need to modernize its facilities. Academics say that addressing a backlog of those needs would cost about $117 billion over the next decade. California voters approved a $9 billion school bond in 2016, but all that money has been accounted for and oversubscribed.
Arguments in favor:
One of the main selling points by advocates of the measure, including Gov. Gavin Newsom: This bond measure is structured differently from previous state bonds, focusing more on school modernization than new construction. Prop. 13, they say, will prioritize health and safety issues – such as mold and asbestos – and puts an end to the first-come, first-served application process that critics say has favored richer districts at the expense of needier ones.
No organized campaign against the measure has yet surfaced. But opponents including the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association contend that Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature should have spent the state’s $21 billion surplus to upgrade school facilities instead of “wasting our money on their own pet projects.” As a result, opponents note in ballot arguments, “Wasteful money pits in the vast education bureaucracy will grab much of this money” for “wasteful construction projects that benefit special interests.”