Voters will again face a proposition on Tuesday that promises to improve California schools.
The Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act, better known as Proposition 1D, would issue $10.4 billion to improve public school facilities.
There is little opposition to the measure because many voters feel that our schools need the improvement. However, some experts say voters might just help to sink California.
If voters pass the measure, legislative analysts estimate the 30-year cost to be $20.3 billion, $10.4 billion being the principal and $9.9 billion in interest. Payment for this bond would be $680 million a year for 30 years.
According to Stephen Frank, publisher of California Political News and Views, California has approved $28 billion in bonds, which do not get audits.
This lack of accountability has allowed for districts like Los Angeles Unified to get away with not being able to account for $1 billion, which is “a lot of money,” Frank said. “Proposition 1D allows this to continue.”
Proposition 1D would allocate $3.1 billion to the higher education system for the construction of new buildings and related infrastructure, altering of existing buildings, and purchasing of equipment for the buildings.
Supporters argue that capital outlay funds are needed to build new facilities to accommodate the projected increase in the number of students, and to renovate and renew facilities to support the demands of today’s academic program.
CSUN is expected to receive $64 million if the proposition is approved.
CSUN plans to spend $56 million on the new Performing Arts Center, a project whose total cost is estimated at more than $100 million.
The PAC “will seat about 1,700 people (and) will be unlike anything else in the Valley,” said Ken Swisher, assistant vice president in CSUN’s public relations office.
If the proposition is approved, CSUN will spend approximately $8 million to $9 million in upgrades for buildings like Nordhoff Hall, Sierra Hall, Live Oak Hall, Cypress Hall, Redwood Hall and Citrus Hall.
The facilities planning department, in conjunction with student affairs, determined CSUN’s needs and pitched their projects to the Chancellor’s Office. The Chancellor’s Office then reviewed, revised and prioritized the allocation of money for CSUN, said Colin Donahue, director of facilities planning.
The final agreement between the Chancellor’s Office and CSUN was sent to the department of finance, which has the ultimate authority as to how much funding CSUN will receive if Proposition 1D passes.
Other CSUs such as Long Beach, Fullerton and San Bernardino will be spending the larger sum of the bond monies allocated to them on building new and improved science buildings and renovating buildings.
“It is money well spent because our schools are not prepared for the 21st century,” said Daniel Conway, a volunteer for Yes on Prop 1D.
“While it looks like a great amount of money on paper, it isn’t,” Conway said. “If approved, California’s debt will still be below the 6 percent healthy level of debt.”
Yes on Prop 1D says that they need voters to understand that the needs of schools are different this time around.
Frank said that voters should not reward districts like LAUSD that have lost 100,000 students in the last three years and expect to lose another 100,000 in the next three years.
“The students are going to charter schools,” Frank said. “It’s not fair that L.A. Unified is taking money away from other districts and institutions when they continue to lose students.”
Frank argues that a better solution is to provide competition and audits, “allow for competition, give parents, students and teachers a choice in education venue and it will get better, give them the right to choose and have audits so that all money is accounted for.”