California lawmakers are considering whether to place a $15 billion general obligation bond measure on the March 2020 ballot. If passed by the legislature, signed by the governor and approved by voters in March 2020, the measure would provide funding for California’s public education system to allow pre-K through 12 schools, the California Community College system, the California State University system and the University of California system to improve the seismic safety of their buildings, address deferred maintenance and expand their physical capacities to serve California students.
The proposed bond measure would allocate $15 billion in general obligation funds to modernize public education facilities, with $9 billion allocated to pre-K-12 schools, $2 billion for the California Community College system, $2 billion for the California State University system and $2 billion for the University of California.
It would be the first general obligation bond in support of UC since 2006, when voters authorized Proposition 1D which provided $345 million per year in 2006-07 and 2007-08 for capital improvements.
UC’s capital needs have grown significantly since the Proposition 1D funds were spent. University administrators have identified more than $11.8 billion in unfunded capital needs across the 10-campus system, partly due to the fact that more than half of all UC space is more than 30 years old. In addition, UC enrollment has increased by 10,000 students over the last few years, and campuses are now physically constrained in their ability to continue to add students.
Under the terms of AB 48, priority would be given to UC projects that address fire and life safety issues, seismic deficiencies and critical deferred maintenance issues in buildings identified as high priority by the University. Specific projects have not yet been finalized, but if AB 48 is approved, it requires UC to adopt a five-year affordable student housing plan.
Consistent with applicable law and University policy, the UC Board of Regents gave a preliminary endorsement in May to support SB 14, an earlier version of the current bond measure. In so doing, the Regents underscored that a general obligation bond would help UC meet its commitment to expand student enrollment and make urgently needed seismic upgrades and other improvements to labs, classrooms, dorms and other facilities.
As a reminder, University funds (including University paid time and equipment) may not lawfully be used for “campaign” purposes in connection with supporting the bond measure. By contrast, University funds may be used for legitimate informational activities such as the information provided on this page. Legal guidelines are linked below. For specific advice on drawing this distinction or on any aspect of applicable law, please contact the Office of General Counsel.
To qualify for the ballot, the bond measure must pass both houses of the California state legislature with a two-thirds vote and be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Voters will then have a chance to weigh in during the state primary election on March 3, 2020, with a simple majority deciding whether or not to enact the measure.
The bill — Assembly Bill (AB) 48, The Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act — was authored by State Sen. Steve Glazer and Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell.
As of September 11, 2019, the measure has received bipartisan support in the Senate and Assembly.
This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.