December 22, 2015
In response to the lack of state funding for school facilities, the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (C.A.S.H.) has qualified a State School Bond for the November 2016 ballot. The initiative provides $9 billion for New Construction ($3 billion) and Modernization ($3 billion) projects, as well as Career Technical Education ($500 million), Charter Schools ($500 million), and Community Colleges ($2 billion). The initiative also preserves the School Facility Program (SFP) under Chapter 12.5 of the Education Code. C.A.S.H. has taken this significant action because we believe the California Constitution requires the state to be a partner in school construction and renovation to ensure that schools are, “…safe, secure and peaceful” (Article IX Section 5 and Article 1 Section 28). C.A.S.H. believes that California’s children are worth the investment.
The C.A.S.H. Board and staff are aware that a group that includes legislative staff and others has announced their intention to work in partnership with the Governor and his staff to place a State School Bond on the June 2016 ballot (requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature). While there is no set amount, we have heard that the amount will be between $2-3 billion. Concerning policy and programmatic issues, while there is no tangible proposal or documents; senior legislative staff appears to be looking at a broad framework that builds on many of the programmatic changes that the Governor has proposed. This emerging proposal is intended to pre-empt and neutralize the C.A.S.H. initiative.
To be crystal clear, C.A.S.H. will proceed with its State School Bond in November 2016. The initiative would provide $9 billion and a proven School Facility Program, as opposed to $2-3 billion and a still-being-developed new program. The C.A.S.H. initiative is qualified for the ballot, but the other proposal has not even been voted on by the Legislature.
C.A.S.H.’s initiative is better for school districts looking to address their school facility needs. Many members of C.A.S.H. and the school facilities community have expended significant time and resources to commit to the qualification and approval of an adequate state school bond. The C.A.S.H. Board will proceed with our bond, to ensure that we honor the trust and effort of our supporters.