In 1998, the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act (Senate Bill 50) was signed into law, establishing what has proven to be one of the state’s most successful partnerships. Since its enactment, the partnership between state and local funding sources has generated upwards of $116 billion in total revenues dedicated solely to the construction and renovation of California’s school facilities from kindergarten through university.
But like the re-painting of the Golden Gate Bridge, the job is never finished.
Just last year in its California Infrastructure Report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimated that despite public school districts in California spending $38.8 billion on capital outlays for construction and renovation between 2005 and 2008, there was still a critical need for $25.4 billion in infrastructure funding.
Unfortunately, despite an improving economy the state is effectively out of bonding capacity and has no cash on hand to support its portion of the program.
The revitalization and strength of an urban community is found centered around school facilities however, and we have an obligation to house our students in safe and adequate facilities. Historically, there has been overwhelming support for statewide bonds to fund such investment, with $35 billion being raised through bonds since the Act was adopted.
The legislature must act now to approve a school facilities construction and modernization bond for the November ballot. Not only will a bond measure support the education of our students within the best possible facilities, but will create much-needed jobs.