On the first day of the new legislative session, Assembly Education Chair Patrick O’Donnell (Long Beach) introduced a school bond bill with the intent of having it on the ballot in 2020. With recognition that bond authority for new construction projects is exhausted and in anticipation of the depletion of modernization authority by mid-2019, no Proposition 51 funding authority for such projects will remain. The introduction of the bond bill is therefore timely.
The primary election in California will be in March 2020. Anticipating the passage of the O’Donnell bill by the legislature and signature by Governor-Elect Newsom in 2019, the bond could be on the ballot in the primary election. The bond bill as introduced declares intent for a Kindergarten through Community College (K-14) bond but does not yet propose a specific dollar amount. The bill will kick off negotiations with the Legislature and a wide variety of stakeholders over the coming year.
Recently there has been much discussion of the need for a school bond in 2020. In a session presented by CASH leaders at the CSBA Conference in San Francisco last week, CASH Chair Don Ulrich underscored that need. Assembly Member O’Donnell was in attendance at CSBA and spoke to the issue telling school board members at his session of his plan to introduce the bond on December 3rd.
Mr. O’Donnell, a classroom teacher by profession, has been a champion of school infrastructure. He sits on the State Allocation Board and has developed a keen interest in the School Facility Program (SFP). He has authored legislation addressing facility issues including streamlining the SFP and clarifying construction related statute. CASH appreciates his work and is most pleased that he has taken the lead in addressing the need for a 2020 bond.
~ Tom Duffy, Legislative Director