Remember when Prop. 51 was voted in by California’s citizens back in November 2016? Well, it appears that Governor Brown is still holding the purse strings for the state to match the bond funds. This is creating a huge backlog of shovel-ready projects. As of today, there’s $3.1 billion in projects awaiting funding.
Prop. 51 consists of $9 billion (that’s a “b”) with $2 billion for community colleges and $7 billion for K-12 facilities. The split is $3 billion for new construction and $3 billion for modernization and renovations. There’s $500 million allocated for career education construction and another $500 million for charter schools.
“On average, more than 90% of previous statewide school bond funds have been appropriated within four years of being approved by voters. In Proposition 51’s case, one year after passing, the state has only sold $655 million of the available bond funds,” noted Senator Andy Vidak
Many schools districts and higher education institutions have submitted applications way back in 2012 and 2013 and they are still awaiting approximately $3.5 billion in matching state funds. This backlog is putting a huge strain on the application and funding process. Once funded, students will wait up to five years to benfefit from Prop. 51.
CASH (Coalition for Adequate School Housing) has intiated “Repair Our Schools Now.” Coalition. The organization is requesting that the State direct $3 billion in Proposition 51 school bonds be sold in the 2018-19 fiscal year, and $3 billion in state matching funds apportioned for projects in 2018-19. CASH is asking members to write their state representatives urging them get on the ball and release the bond money.
It’s not only students and teachers who are impacted by the stall—it’s the economy and construction industry as well. Construction costs typically increase about 6% per year, which impacts the purchasing power of districts. As time passes, the overall value diminishes.