Prop 51: California’s Statewide School Bond

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What is the statewide school bond?

  • The “Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act” is a $9 billion bond that California voters are being asked to approve on the November 2016 ballot. If approved, the $9 billion would be accessible to school districts across California for meeting their facilities needs.

What exactly is a bond?

  • A bond is a form of loan or IOU. In this case, the state of California would put out a request for $9 billion in loans and people can load the state money by buying bonds. The state will repay bondholders, with interest, over time. The bonds can lead to an increase in property taxes to help pay that interest.

Who supports the bond measure?

  • The bond measure is supported by a large coalition of education and construction interests, including the California State PTA, California Chamber of Commerce, and dozens of school districts. It is also supported by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Who opposes it?

  • The bond measure is primarily opposed by Governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown and other opponents believe that the formula for distributing the bond money is inequitable and favors large districts like Los Angeles over smaller, more rural districts. This is in part because the process operates on a first-come, first-serve basis that is easier for districts with more staff capacity to navigate.

How much money would WCCUSD be able to access?

  • It’s unclear. The program has a formula used to determine fund distribution across districts. In the past decade, WCCUSD has received several hundred million dollars from the state in facilities funding, so presumably WCCUSD may have a chance to access the funds. However, although $9 billion sounds like a lot of money, stretched across a state as large as California, it will not be enough to allow every district to get what they might want or need.

Does this impact the WCCUSD bond program?

  • No. WCCUSD’s local $1.6 billion bond program is independent of the state facilities program. These are bonds issued by WCCUSD itself.

Does this impact the WCCUSD parcel tax?

  • No. A parcel tax is used to pay for day-to-day operational expenses (custodians, science materials, etc.). A bond is used to pay for big capital expenses (school construction and repair). They are entirely separate categories. The funds in one program cannot be co-mingled with the other.

Where can I learn more?

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