Several legislative leaders on Monday applauded the signing of Assembly Bill 48, which the Legislature passed to place a $15 billion bond on the March 2020 ballot to fund new classrooms, labs, and libraries for California’s K-12 public schools and universities.
“These are funds that our schools desperately need to ensure our children are learning in safe, up-to-date classrooms, and there is no better investment for our state resources than our students,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), who served as a principal co-author on the bill. “This is money that will fund critical health and safety improvements, such as removing mold and asbestos from classrooms and lead from school drinking water, fund emergency relief for schools struck by disasters, and modernize career and vocational training facilities, including those for veterans returning from duty. And it comes complete with transparency, by providing annual independent audits and public hearings so taxpayers can see how the money is being spent.”
Atkins additionally offered a “Thank you to all my Senate colleagues for passing this bill” and especially noted the efforts of Senators Steve Glazer and Connie Leyva, for their leadership on the legislation.
The $15 billion in funding includes $9 billion for preschool to K-12, $2 billion for community colleges, $2 billion for the California State University, and $2 billion for the University of California. The legislation also creates a priority system so that districts with the most urgent needs, such as mold or seismic hazards, jump to the front of the line.
“Now that AB 48 has been signed by the Governor, I’m proud that it will provide $15 billion in much-needed funding for constructing and modernizing public preschool, K-12, and higher education facilities here in California, as well as improve the existing state School Facilities Program,” said Senator Leyva, AB 48 co-author and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “As a member of the State Allocation Board, I know how effective this program already is at helping ensure that California students are educated in clean, safe, and modernized classrooms. AB 48 will help all districts – particularly those that are small or low-wealth – benefit from the program moving forward. I am also excited that AB 48 places a new focus on public preschool access, the remediation of lead in water, and assistance for districts impacted by natural disasters.”
Senator Glazer, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Student Success said: “Our education system is our most important responsibility and gives each student the opportunity to thrive. These bond funds will shore up deteriorating classrooms and provide seismic and other safety fixes at schools and universities in every part of California.”