Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed State Budget today, following are highlights for your information.
School Facilities Program
The Budget proposes to release $1.5 billion in Proposition 51 bond funds in 2019-20, and $1.2 million to fund ten positions at the Office of Public School Construction to support the increased processing of applications. Together with the $1.2 billion released in fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19, this would bring the total in Proposition 51 funds released to $2.7 billion. This proposal leaves $4.3 billion of voter-approved Prop. 51 bond funds unsold, while school facility advocates are building the case for 2020 and 2022 statewide school bonds.
The Budget proposes $750 million in one-time, non-Proposition 98 General Fund money to be added to last year’s $100 million General Fund appropriation for Local Education Agencies (LEA) to construct new or retrofit existing facilities for full-day kindergarten programs. LEAs would be able apply project savings to other activities that reduce barriers to providing full-day kindergarten.
The proposed Budget included a policy statement characterizing local governments as obstacles to the construction of housing. It says that “fees such as planning service fees and impact fees charged by local governments contribute substantially to the cost of development.” While the Budget does not make any specific proposals with respect to impact fees, the verbiage puts the new Administration squarely in the camp of the San Francisco-based housing advocates who sponsored legislation last year to eliminate or severely limit the ability of LEAs to collect housing impact fees. In his presentation, the Governor stated that he would establish a Task Force on Impact Fees.
While we greatly appreciate the $1.5 billion for the budget year of Proposition 51 bond sales, we will continue to advocate for an accelerated schedule. We will provide more information and details on school facility issues in the 2019-20 Budget as they become available.
~Tom Duffy, Legislative Director