LOS ANGELES - A $9 billion state school bond measure has qualified for California's Nov. 8, 2016 ballot.
The initiative received the needed 365,880 voter signatures gathered by its backers, a coalition of educational lobbyists and the building industry, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a release Friday.
California Governor Brown has opposed replenishing the existing bond program that provides school districts with matching funds for building projects. He has said he won't support a new school bond authorization under its current structure.
Voters have approved $35 billion in statewide general obligation bonds since 1998 to construct or renovate K-12 schools, but by 2012 the program had used up the bond authority for its two core programs, new construction and modernization. The state still had $286 million in bond authority remaining for seismic repair, charter school construction and for energy-efficiency projects as of November 2014, according to a report by the Legislative Analyst's Office.
The initiative would authorize $9 billion in general obligation bonds for building projects to be split four ways: $3 billion for new construction, $3 billion for modernization of K-12 schools, $1 billion for charter schools and vocational education, and $2 billion for community colleges.
It would bar amendment to the existing authority to levy developer fees to fund school facilities until new construction bond proceeds are spent, or until Dec. 31, 2020.
Brown wants to expand local funding capacity by raising caps on local bond indebtedness, which have not been raised since 2000; that would allow many districts to issue bonds that their voters have authorized but are blocked by the caps. Brown would also simplify how schools receive impact fees from developers for new construction in their districts.
The California Teachers Association and other civil service unions filed a proposed initiative last week seeking to extend part of the temporary taxes approved by voters in 2012 through Proposition 30. That proposal would extend the tax increase on California couples who earn more than $500,000 annually from its original expiration date in 2018 to 2030. The quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters with the same proposition would still expire as planned in 2016.