California voters will decide on March 3, 2020, whether to approve a $15 billion general obligation bond measure that would provide funding to California’s public education system to improve the seismic safety of buildings, address deferred maintenance and expand the physical capacity to serve California students.
If approved by voters, AB 48, the Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020 would allocate $15 billion in general obligation funds to modernize public education facilities, with $9 billion allocated to California’s public 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, and 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 bond measure that will appear on the ballot. 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 here. 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 passed both houses of the California state legislature with a two-thirds vote and was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Voters will be asked to decide whether or not to approve it during the state primary election, held on March 3, 2020, with a simple majority deciding whether or not to enact the measure.
Assembly Bill (AB) 48, the Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act, was authored by State Sen. Steve Glazer and Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell.
This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.