Credit: Henry & Co. on Unsplash
The article was updated Feb. 17 with the latest campaign contributions.

The March 3 California ballot includes a $15 billion state bond issue to help schools, community colleges and universities with construction costs for their facilities. Last fall, the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom placed the measure on the ballot by approving Assembly Bill 48.  It will appear on the ballot as Proposition 13.

Does it have anything to do with the Prop. 13 property tax initiative that voters passed in 1978?

No. They just happen to have the same number. Every 10 years, the state repeats the cycle for numbering measures on the state ballot in the order they come in. Passing the school bond will not alter the previous Prop. 13.

Why is it needed?

The state has traditionally shared the cost of construction with school districts, community colleges and universities. Since 2002, voters have approved four bond measures totaling $45 billion, with 80 percent allocated to K-12. The last bond, in 2016, was for $7 billion strictly for K-12. All the money from that bond has been allocated or committed to districts that have applied.

School districts and community colleges also pass bonds for school construction and repairs not covered by state aid. Local bonds require 55 percent of voter approval to pass. State bonds like Prop. 13 require a simple majority of voters statewide.

How will the money be spent?

  • $6 billion for higher education, with $2 billion each for community colleges, California State University and the University of California.
  • $9 billion for K-12:
    • $5.2 billion for renovations, with $150 million earmarked for testing and reducing lead in school water.
    • $2.8 billion for new construction.
    • $500 million for charter school facilities.
    • $500 million for career technical program facilities.

EdSource has updated, with information on the proposed school construction bond on the March 3 ballot, a video we produced last fall on Fresno Unified’s struggles to fund school renovations. The video highlights the need for some of the reforms that are included in the bond measure before voters.

What will be the total cost?

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the full repayment to be $26 billion over 35 years, paid out of the General Fund of the state budget. This includes the $15 billion principal plus $11 billion in estimated interest based on selling bonds over 5 years at a 4 percent interest rate. The annual repayment of $740 million would equal 0.5 percent of the General Fund.

How will the K-12 portion be distributed to districts?

Because of Newsom’s insistence, Prop. 13 will distribute money based on new priorities, with additional help for districts struggling to raise money. Schools with the biggest health and safety needs, schools needing to remove lead in school water and those districts with tiny tax bases will get top priority. Ten percent of state money will be reserved for districts with 2,500 or fewer students. And low-income, low-wealth districts will get up to 5 percent more of state matching money.

Small districts with too small a tax base to fund school projects, and districts with predominately low-income families combined with insufficient taxable property have argued they’ve been disadvantaged under the existing first-come, first-served system of distributing state funding. That system didn’t consider districts’ capability to fund construction. A study from the 2018 Getting Down to Facts research project, led by Stanford University and the nonprofit PACE, documents these problems.

How would passage of the state facilities bond affect my property taxes?

In three ways for districts that choose to renovate or build new facilities:

  1. Districts that apply and deemed eligible could receive matching state funding on a sliding scale for individual school projects: between 50 and 55 percent of the cost for new construction and between 60 and 65 percent for the cost of renovation. As a result, passage of the state bond could lower the cost of a local school project and reduce the increase in property taxes for a potential future local school bond.
  2.  State law limits how much school and community college districts may issue in local bonds, based on the total assessed value of property in the district. The current ceiling of 1.25 percent of assessed value for elementary and high school districts would rise to 2 percent if Prop. 13 passes. The ceiling of 2.5 percent of assessed value for unified and community college districts would rise to 4 percent. Districts bumping up against the ceiling already have the ability to see a waiver from the State Board of Education to raise go above it. The new limits would particularly help areas in the state, like the Central Valley and the Inland Empire, east of Los Angeles, where property values still have not recovered from the Great Recession.
  3. School districts can charge fees to residential developers to defray the cost of new students the development would bring. Prop. 13 would reduce the fees on multi-residential developments by 20 percent for the next five years. It also would eliminate developer fees for apartment complexes and other multifamily residential developments built within a half-mile of a major transit stop.  A reduction in developer fees of this magnitude could raise taxes, to a small degree, of homeowners who would have to make up the difference in districts with new multi-residential buildings. Negotiators for Gov. Gavin Newsom insisted on the cut in  fees in order to encourage more high-density housing; it was not part of the original bond legislation that the Legislature considered.

How will the higher-ed portion work?

The UC and CSU systems administer their own construction projects. The CSU trustees and the UC regents would have to adopt 5-year plans to expand affordable housing on campus and give top priority to buildings with the most pressing safety concerns to qualify for state bond revenue.

Who are key supporters and financial contributors?

Support is coming from Newsom, dozens of legislators, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, the California Charter Schools Association, numerous school groups, including the California State PTA, associations representing school boards, administrators and business officers, the UC regents, UC trustees, and the community colleges’ board of governors. It also has key business backers: the California Building Industry Association, California Business Roundtable and California Chamber of Commerce.

The largest donors, as of Feb. 14, include the California Coalition for Public Higher Education Issues Committee, $1,750,000; Californians for Quality Schools, sponsored by the California Building Industry Association, $1,250,000; Coalition for Adequate School Housing, an industry-based lobby, $1,050,000; CTA, $500,000; California Charter Schools Association, $400,000; and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, $334,000.  The “yes for Prop. 13” coalition had raised $9 million.

Who are the key opponents of Prop. 13?

No money has yet been raised to oppose the measure. The only opponents listed on the nonpartisan, popular election website Ballotpedia are the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Sen. Brian Jones, R-Santee.

Where can I learn more about Prop. 13?

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  1. Robert Martin 3 months ago3 months ago

    I built schools for years; efficiencies are missing in many cases. The more you duplicate a design the less cost and unknowns come about. Districts like to build wasteful monuments to themselves when budgets are concerned. After 20 years of public projects, waste is easy to spot and districts and contractors always have excuses or justifications. After all they will always ask for more money.

  2. Joe 3 months ago3 months ago

    No matter how much they borrow and tax it will never be enough.

  3. Daniel A 3 months ago3 months ago

    Read the language of Prop 13, not the misinformation campaigns being waged via social media and other media outlets. Even if the misinformation campaign is from the HJTA.
    Be an informed voter to make informed decisions.This bill does not raise property taxes, and cannot be redirected towards other financial liabilities (i.e. – unfunded pension obligations).
    Please read the bill for yourself!

  4. Doug 3 months ago3 months ago

    Vote NO. Fensterwald is a shameless shill for the Democrats, who have ruined Calif in so many ways. They never met a tax increase that they didn’t like. It’s time to stop the madness.. and stop giving them money that they can easily divert to other messes, including unfunded pensions. Vote NO!!!

  5. Kevin 3 months ago3 months ago

    Everyone needs to pay for public school not just homeowners. Tenants in the Bay Area pay nothing for schools and a lot of them get reduced rent from rent control, even if they are millionaires. San Francisco needs to send some of the $250 million it spent on homeless every year in schools because that is where some of the next generation homeless will be grown.

  6. Charles Ludlow 3 months ago3 months ago

    Stop increasing our property tax and find a another way to fund your projects. House prices are so expensive in CA already. If you were more up front with the real cost to homeowners, that would be better – every 2/3 years another bond and another hike to property tax. Stop! NO on Prop 13.

  7. Sarah 3 months ago3 months ago

    I can't find information on why there isn't a proposal out there to reallocate funds from the budget surplus instead of issuing new bonds. On a surface level, it seems obvious to dedicate an existing surplus to this issue rather than pursue funding via bonds, which are significantly more expensive in the long run. I assume there are some reasons why this is not being done or what the surplus is being allocated for instead … Read More

    I can’t find information on why there isn’t a proposal out there to reallocate funds from the budget surplus instead of issuing new bonds. On a surface level, it seems obvious to dedicate an existing surplus to this issue rather than pursue funding via bonds, which are significantly more expensive in the long run.

    I assume there are some reasons why this is not being done or what the surplus is being allocated for instead but I’m having a hard time finding that information, which I think is essential for informed decision making. I’m sure most people would love to support schools but are also looking to do so in the best way possible. If we’re being asked to approve something of this magnitude, we should also know what other options have been pursued and why they were not considered viable.

    Replies

    • Nicole 3 months ago3 months ago

      My concern exactly. Thanks for posting this question. Without an answer to this question (even by the pro-Prop 13 group in its rebuttal to the anti-Prop 13 group), and in light of some other criticisms, I am not inclined to vote for it.

  8. michael cowles 3 months ago3 months ago

    And, just like the gasoline tax SB-1 – Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017- Governor Newsom can – at his discretion – divert the $$ to another source as he sees fit. Don’t be fooled by yet another tax that uses the schools to tug at the heart strings of the tax payers. Vote No on 13. Just another way to pick our pockets once again while we drive our cars on crumbling roads!

  9. Margaret boyd 3 months ago3 months ago

    Where is this money coming from? The emanation of Prop 13 passed in 1978?

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 3 months ago3 months ago

      Margaret: The state construction bond for education, coincidentally numbered 13, has nothing to do with the Prop. 13 that voters passed in 1978. It will provide matching money for school districts that raise their own local bonds for school renovations and new construction. The interest and repayment of the principal will be funded through the state’s General Fund for the budget.

  10. Mark Chamberlain 3 months ago3 months ago

    Why not pay as we go we have a surplus, fix the safety items first then see where we are at. We just had a new gas tax shoved down our neck, then we are supposed to spend a hundred million for free health care to illegal aliens. Now look at what the schools are sending us a bunch of kids with communication degrees, or liberal art degrees that want their student loans forgiven. The … Read More

    Why not pay as we go we have a surplus, fix the safety items first then see where we are at. We just had a new gas tax shoved down our neck, then we are supposed to spend a hundred million for free health care to illegal aliens. Now look at what the schools are sending us a bunch of kids with communication degrees, or liberal art degrees that want their student loans forgiven.

    The plain truth is my kids went to these poor schools and did just fine, the score for these schools were low because all the non-English speaking kids had trouble, and they had trouble because they didn’t have any support at home. School administration is way too fat, teachers are disgusted with the curriculum, and somebody is getting a good old boy deal from this.

  11. John Van De Walker 3 months ago3 months ago

    Interesting that it is Termed Prop 13 and not Measure 13 which others have stated. This PROP 13 is per the official ballot. Now to amend Prop 13 you need a 2/3 vote approval . My question is this true for the 2020 Prop 13? So if this is acting on a amendment on the original prop 13 would it require a 2/3 vote? Since ACA 1 was not passed, this Prop 13 … Read More

    Interesting that it is Termed Prop 13 and not Measure 13 which others have stated. This PROP 13 is per the official ballot. Now to amend Prop 13 you need a 2/3 vote approval . My question is this true for the 2020 Prop 13? So if this is acting on a amendment on the original prop 13 would it require a 2/3 vote? Since ACA 1 was not passed, this Prop 13 should require a 2/3 Vote to be approved or it is illegal? At least this is how I’m reading this . Please correct me if I misunderstood this.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 3 months ago3 months ago

      Mr. Van De Walker,
      It will require a 50 percent majority vote to pass the state construction bond, Prop. 13, on the March ballot. If the initiative to change the rules for assessing commercial property, which would amend the 1978 Prop. 13, qualifies for the November ballot, it also would require a simple majority for passage.

  12. John D. Fiat 3 months ago3 months ago

    Don’t fall for yet another well disguised increase to our property taxes. The real Prop 13 is the only thing saving California from completely collapsing. (Without it, only rich homeowners could afford to stay here and nearly every business would leave or be forced to shut down) I don’t think that they named this new proposition Prop 13 by accident as Mr. Fensterwald assumes. I think that it was either named this for legal reasons … Read More

    Don’t fall for yet another well disguised increase to our property taxes. The real Prop 13 is the only thing saving California from completely collapsing. (Without it, only rich homeowners could afford to stay here and nearly every business would leave or be forced to shut down) I don’t think that they named this new proposition Prop 13 by accident as Mr. Fensterwald assumes. I think that it was either named this for legal reasons (i.e. a technicality forced the legislature to call it that because it does indeed derive its funding by raising property taxes) or that it was simply meant to confuse the public and throw us off. Heck, I’m even considering the possibility that it was even meant to be an ironic slap to our face because the big tax Democrats that run CA absolutely despise the real Prop 13. But whatever the reason is, vote no! They already lied about those highway funds being untouchable, and they’re lying about this as well!

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 3 months ago3 months ago

      Mr. Fiat: We have enough conspiracy theories around today without floating a new one. Back in November, after the Secretary of State designated the state school bond Proposition 13, I did a piece explaining the process by which the state construction bond drew that unfortunate number. The subhead summarized it nicely: "Nothing fishy: Number came up in 10-year cycle of assigning numbers". Please read it – it lays out the numbering process items on an election … Read More

      Mr. Fiat:
      We have enough conspiracy theories around today without floating a new one. Back in November, after the Secretary of State designated the state school bond Proposition 13, I did a piece explaining the process by which the state construction bond drew that unfortunate number. The subhead summarized it nicely: “Nothing fishy: Number came up in 10-year cycle of assigning numbers”. Please read it – it lays out the numbering process items on an election ballot. It’s clear-cut.

      At the time, I wondered whether the number 13 would help or hurt the passage of the bond. In retrospect, Kevin Gordon, a bond supporter, had it right when he said for the article, “Confusion is the friend of the ‘no’ vote … But you have to play the hand you’re dealt.”

      To reiterate, this Prop. 13 will not undermine or change the Prop. 13 that voters passed in 1978. It will provide matching money to school districts that pass their own construction bonds to repair or build new schools. In deciding whether to vote for the bond, readers should look at the condition of their own schools and, if a bond is on the ballot in March or contemplated for November, ask teachers, principals, school board members – and children – why construction is needed. That might provide some useful information, grounded in observation and facts.

      • John D. Fiat 3 months ago3 months ago

        Mr. Fensterwald, I never claimed that this proposal would undermine the original Prop 13 (as you’ve pointed out, the Democratic legislature already has another proposal for that). I merely stated that since it’s a fact that this new Prop 13 would raise our property taxes in order to fund it, I find it quite ironic, and possibly a slap in our face. (The latter part was kind of a joke) But regardless, this hardly constitutes … Read More

        Mr. Fensterwald, I never claimed that this proposal would undermine the original Prop 13 (as you’ve pointed out, the Democratic legislature already has another proposal for that). I merely stated that since it’s a fact that this new Prop 13 would raise our property taxes in order to fund it, I find it quite ironic, and possibly a slap in our face. (The latter part was kind of a joke) But regardless, this hardly constitutes accusations of a “conspiracy theory” since an insult wouldn’t be what actually causes the said increases in our property taxes. Quit watching too much MSNBC!

        • John Fensterwald 3 months ago3 months ago

          Mr. Fiat, please explain how “this new Prop 13 would raise our property taxes in order to fund it.”

          • john marker 3 months ago3 months ago

            Read the text of the proposition: State law limits how much school and community college districts may issue in local bonds, based on the total assessed value of property in the district. The current ceiling of 1.25 percent of assessed value for elementary and high school districts would rise to 2 percent if Prop. 13 passes. The ceiling of 2.5 percent of assessed value for unified and community college districts would rise to 4 percent. … Read More

            Read the text of the proposition: State law limits how much school and community college districts may issue in local bonds, based on the total assessed value of property in the district. The current ceiling of 1.25 percent of assessed value for elementary and high school districts would rise to 2 percent if Prop. 13 passes. The ceiling of 2.5 percent of assessed value for unified and community college districts would rise to 4 percent. Districts bumping up against the ceiling already have the ability to see a waiver from the State Board of Education to raise go above it. The new limits would particularly help areas in the state, like the Central Valley and the Inland Empire, east of Los Angeles, where property values still have not recovered from the Great Recession.

          • John D. Fiat 3 months ago3 months ago

            Mr. Fensterwald, are you kidding? The answer is in your own article here in Section 2 under the question, “How would passage of the state facilities bond affect my property taxes?” And in the primary voter guide it’s on page 14 under Changes Local Funding Rules For Districts.

  13. Carol Thomas 3 months ago3 months ago

    Is it typical to pay so much interest on these things? Repay is close to double the original amount. Seems high. Would love to get that kind of interest on my savings account!

  14. John Kennerson 3 months ago3 months ago

    I’m reading a lot of criticism about of this measure; people saying that it could have a huge impact on property taxes. What are the facts about this concern?

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 3 months ago3 months ago

      Others have asked a similar question, John. Please reread the comment and answers to previous questions for the information you are requesting.

  15. Larry Wong 3 months ago3 months ago

    What about section 56 of AB48 that exempts developers from fees for multi-family units near transit stops and 20% reduction for all other multi-family unit developments? These highly profitable developments will surely bring in more students adding pressure to the already overloaded school districts that desperately need those developer fees. The developers want CA tax payers to pay for the schools instead of paying their fair share. If section 56 of AB48 … Read More

    What about section 56 of AB48 that exempts developers from fees for multi-family units near transit stops and 20% reduction for all other multi-family unit developments? These highly profitable developments will surely bring in more students adding pressure to the already overloaded school districts that desperately need those developer fees. The developers want CA tax payers to pay for the schools instead of paying their fair share. If section 56 of AB48 is not there, I would vote yes, but this bill is really a money grab by the greedy developers supported by politicians bought by their campaign contributions.

  16. Kort van Bronkhorst 3 months ago3 months ago

    Kudos to Mr. Fensterwald for trying to help misinformed people understand what this is all about. I have been waging my own Fensterwald-like diatribes against the ignorati on Facebook and Nextdoor, to no avail. Not only do people confuse this Prop 13 with the Jarvis-Gann 13, they think this bill is the split-roll initiative which is coming later this year. Compounding that, they think this will be repaid through property taxes, instead of the general … Read More

    Kudos to Mr. Fensterwald for trying to help misinformed people understand what this is all about. I have been waging my own Fensterwald-like diatribes against the ignorati on Facebook and Nextdoor, to no avail. Not only do people confuse this Prop 13 with the Jarvis-Gann 13, they think this bill is the split-roll initiative which is coming later this year. Compounding that, they think this will be repaid through property taxes, instead of the general fund (which comes from different tax methods). They don’t understand that local bonds would have to be passed on top of this initiative if local schools wish to use some of this state money, and it is those local bonds which would affect property taxes.

    But that’s not what we are voting on here. And don’t get me started on Lotto money, which is not for infrastructure anyway. I happen to be against this bill (due to the state’s existing surplus), but not because of any of the misguided “facts” being spewed forth by those people who are in the dark. Like Mr. Fensterwald, I am only trying to help people make informed decisions. Thank you.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 3 months ago3 months ago

      Thanks for doing your part to educate folks on the construction bond. My apologies to you and others if my clarifications are coming across as a diatribe. Frustrating as it is to repeat myself, that is not my intention.

    • Richard Tassinari 3 months ago3 months ago

      I agree. After reviewing the 2019-2020 state budget on lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4083 , figure 3 indicated a $21.5 billion surplus allocated to programs/expenses that did not include any money for education. If the need to improve educational facilities is great, then existing surplus should be used first before incurring $26 billion in debt ($15 billion borrowed and $11 billion interest). We are now just months away from another budget for 2020-2021 during which time it would be … Read More

      I agree. After reviewing the 2019-2020 state budget on lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4083 , figure 3 indicated a $21.5 billion surplus allocated to programs/expenses that did not include any money for education. If the need to improve educational facilities is great, then existing surplus should be used first before incurring $26 billion in debt ($15 billion borrowed and $11 billion interest).

      We are now just months away from another budget for 2020-2021 during which time it would be prudent to know how much surplus will be carried over before deciding to create more debt. Any surplus should be applied to needed education facility improvements and new construction if the need exists.

    • John D. Fiat 3 months ago3 months ago

      In order to increase our property taxes, local bonds would have to be passed, too? As if that would ever be a problem in CA. Don’t make me laugh!

  17. Richard Tassinari 4 months ago4 months ago

    In 2016, Prop 51 was passed and established bonds to pay for $9 billion toward education. $6 billion was allocated for new construction and modernization of schools for K-12. Now 4 years later, we are informed more is needed for the same objective. What happened to the $6 billion allocated in 2016?

  18. Marco 4 months ago4 months ago

    I keep seeing statements that this measure ends the “first come first served” policy, but giving preference for “needy” districts. Other than granting them an additional 5%, I haven’t been able to figure out how that works. Reading the measure text, it still seems like first-come, first-served, within each of the buckets. Can you explain?

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 3 months ago3 months ago

      Thanks for asking, Marco. Prop. 13 will establish a new set of priorities for distributing the money, replacing the blanket first-come, first-served process previously used. You're right: the language establishing new priorities is not found in the ballot measure language; it's in the larger language of Assembly Bill 48, authored by Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell, which authorized putting Prop. 13 on the ballot. The specific section is Section 17070.56 of the bill (use that search term), which … Read More

      Thanks for asking, Marco.

      Prop. 13 will establish a new set of priorities for distributing the money, replacing the blanket first-come, first-served process previously used. You’re right: the language establishing new priorities is not found in the ballot measure language; it’s in the larger language of Assembly Bill 48, authored by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, which authorized putting Prop. 13 on the ballot. The specific section is Section 17070.56 of the bill (use that search term), which creates new sections of the Education Code.

      You will see from that section that the new priorities for funding are:
      1) projects that pose a health and safety threat and are urgently needed;
      2) projects showing financial hardship: those in small districts with assessed value of less than $15 million that couldn’t fund a project without state help
      3) projects to measure and treat schools with high levels of lead in school water
      4) projects that were submitted but not funded in the previous two cycles of funding
      5) projects to relieve school overcrowding
      6) other projects, based on point scale that ranks schools based on the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced school lunches, which is a primary basis for funding under the Local Control Funding Formula. It’s my understanding that assessed value per student, another measure of the ability of a district to fund projects, will also be part of that equation. The Office of Public School Construction will write the rules.

      Projects submitted to the state will be re-examined every quarter to see where they fall under the priorities, so it still will make sense for districts to submit their projects sooner than later.

      I hope this helps.

  19. Karen Komatinsky 4 months ago4 months ago

    The correct terminology is MEASURE 13. NOT PROP 13. Writers and media outlets continue to get it wrong and that hurts the voting public. Please change the wording to reflect what is in the sample ballot…..MEASURE 13.

  20. Frank 4 months ago4 months ago

    The opposition to this bond centers on trust. Consider the number water bonds that were passed to address our water needs that have not been implemented. Then the High Speed Rail boondoggle and the latest move with the gas tax. Voters like and support education at the local level but State Government is another issue.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Frank, the main complaint I have heard about the last $9 billion state construction bond for schools is that the current and last governor didn’t release the matching money fast enough to school districts – not that the money’s not being used as promised.

  21. Laura J 4 months ago4 months ago

    It’s a no for me. We have the state lottery that should be funding all this. We Californians pay so much in taxes already, and I’m tired of seeing it mismanaged.

  22. George Blount 4 months ago4 months ago

    These bonds are always poorly used by administrators who want to build monuments to there stupidity. They will ask the teachers what they want but do what they want anyway. They never ask real experts on what would be best. The end result is a huge waste of taxpayers money with no real benefit for the students. Vote No!!!

  23. Hans Luckoff 4 months ago4 months ago

    With all the taxes and fees we pay living in California, it is never enough. Always they want more. Village idiots run this state and the majority of people keep sending them to Sacramento.

  24. Kirk Scott 4 months ago4 months ago

    John, after reading all of these responses…let me say that you are doing “God’s work.” Unfortunately, your audience is deaf and blind. I was unclear on this measure, but based on the comments that have been left here, and your patient (and redundant) responses to them I’ve decided to vote yes on 13. We obviously need a better education system here in California. Making them safe and sturdy is the first step.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Thanks for your comment, Kirk. In all fairness, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation being passed around. And it's unfortunate that by quirk of circumstance, the school bond happened to draw the number 13 on the ballot. For decades, school districts, community colleges, CSU and UC have benefited from state-issued construction bonds to help lower the costs of their own construction and modernization projects. There is a need and a precedent for passing … Read More

      Thanks for your comment, Kirk. In all fairness, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation being passed around. And it’s unfortunate that by quirk of circumstance, the school bond happened to draw the number 13 on the ballot.

      For decades, school districts, community colleges, CSU and UC have benefited from state-issued construction bonds to help lower the costs of their own construction and modernization projects. There is a need and a precedent for passing another bond. However, as long as readers understand what is actually on the March ballot, as a reporter, I’m fine with however they vote.

  25. John K 4 months ago4 months ago

    Much as I resent the inefficiencies of government, the cause to make the buildings safer of children is compelling to vote yes (disclosure: I have no children or grandchildren of my own). To trash the children who should be the future of this country seems dumb, something the right wing Howard Jarvis would do. This is a real dichotomy. Look at the McFadden bridge they are supposedly to be doing. After one … Read More

    Much as I resent the inefficiencies of government, the cause to make the buildings safer of children is compelling to vote yes (disclosure: I have no children or grandchildren of my own). To trash the children who should be the future of this country seems dumb, something the right wing Howard Jarvis would do. This is a real dichotomy. Look at the McFadden bridge they are supposedly to be doing. After one full year, it looks like Iraq before the US fixed their roads.

  26. Judy Schmidt 4 months ago4 months ago

    So, what do you think of this article from Howard Javis Taxpayer Association. What are the inaccuracies, if any, and are there defendable arguments? Thanks! I am pulling for this one, but I need to be factually informed!
    https://www.hjta.org/no-on-13-on-march-ballot/#

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      The Howard Jarvis article that you linked to is accurate, and its position is consistent with issues it has raised in the past. Readers have to weigh the pros and cons as they see them and decide if the benefits outweigh the costs. My point with previous readers is that they were confusing Howard Jarvis articles on the proposed “split-roll” initiative that may be on the November ballot with the construction bond in March.

      • Nicole 3 months ago3 months ago

        Mr. Fensterwald, could you explain whether and how money in the State’s current budge surplus could be used to fund these school repairs?

        • John Fensterwald 3 months ago3 months ago

          Nicole, it's important to distinguish between the estimated $21 billion in reserves for 2020-21, nearly all of which will be set aside for the rainy day fund, as determined by state law, to soften the impact of the next recession (which may be coming sooner than we expected, depending on the coronavirus) and the projected $6 billion budget surplus. That's the amount in which revenues are projected to exceed expenditures at the end of next … Read More

          Nicole, it’s important to distinguish between the estimated $21 billion in reserves for 2020-21, nearly all of which will be set aside for the rainy day fund, as determined by state law, to soften the impact of the next recession (which may be coming sooner than we expected, depending on the coronavirus) and the projected $6 billion budget surplus. That’s the amount in which revenues are projected to exceed expenditures at the end of next years. Many readers have been mistakenly equating the two.

          Newsom is proposing to put about a quarter of the surplus into the reserve fund and to spend the rest mostly on one-time expenditures. There’s nothing to prevent him from using that money as the state’s contribution to K-12 and higher ed building projects, although the amount would be far less than the $15 billion bond he and the Legislature are proposing.

          Jerry Brown suggested setting aside a portion of General Fund to help the neediest districts with their building needs and to let school districts pay for the rest themselves through local bonds. Newsom, at least for now, is proposing to help through the more traditional route: floating a state bond to underwrite some of the costs of their building needs.

          Hope that helps.

        • John Fensterwald 3 months ago3 months ago

          Nicole, it's important to distinguish between the estimated $21 billion in reserves for 2020-21, nearly all of which will be set aside for the rainy day fund, as determined by state law, to soften the impact of the next recession (which may be coming sooner than we expected, depending on the coronavirus) and the projected $6 billion budget surplus. That's the amount in which revenues are projected to exceed expenditures at the end of next … Read More

          Nicole, it’s important to distinguish between the estimated $21 billion in reserves for 2020-21, nearly all of which will be set aside for the rainy day fund, as determined by state law, to soften the impact of the next recession (which may be coming sooner than we expected, depending on the coronavirus) and the projected $6 billion budget surplus. That’s the amount in which revenues are projected to exceed expenditures at the end of next years. Many readers have been mistakenly equating the two.

          Gov. Newsom is proposing to put about a quarter of the surplus into the reserve fund and to spend the rest mostly on one-time expenditures. There’s nothing to prevent him from using that money as the state’s contribution to K-12 and higher ed building projects, although the amount would be far less than the $15 billion bond he and the Legislature are proposing.

          Jerry Brown suggested setting aside a portion of General Fund to help the neediest districts with their building needs and to let school districts pay for the rest themselves through local bonds. Newsom, at least for now, is proposing to help through the more traditional route: floating a state bond to underwrite some of the costs of their building needs.

          Hope that helps.

  27. Laurel Sutton 4 months ago4 months ago

    Where is any money for students with mental disabilities? ADHD and other diagnoses are mostly being ignored in schools. IEPs for students are poorly run. Students are pushed through the education system without being told about all the assets that could be provided to them. Especially ADHD students whose needs may include individual instruction, individual tutoring, free busing, individual counseling, etc. It costs money. What is usually given to a student in need is handed … Read More

    Where is any money for students with mental disabilities? ADHD and other diagnoses are mostly being ignored in schools. IEPs for students are poorly run. Students are pushed through the education system without being told about all the assets that could be provided to them. Especially ADHD students whose needs may include individual instruction, individual tutoring, free busing, individual counseling, etc. It costs money.

    What is usually given to a student in need is handed to untrained educators that have created IEP classes that bundle students with different needs. No child is getting what he or she needs to help them truly get a start in life. A lot of these students families do not have proper health care services either because of costs, transportation issues, or simply not knowing the right questions to ask and to who? The healthcare given by employers is just adequate and again, good on prevention medicine but poor in needed psychiatric care. It seems that these days it’s easier for the people that we trust with our “health and education” needs to “pass the buck“!!

  28. Holly 4 months ago4 months ago

    No. No raise in property taxes. Use the 21 billion dollar reserve. Do not increase our property taxes. I hope you all realize that it will hurt homeowners, renters, and elderly with fixed incomes. Homes will be reassessed, and property taxes will constantly increase.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      The state bond on the March ballot will not increase local property taxes or cause your property taxes to rise. Please refer to my response to previous comments.

  29. jeffrey boggs 4 months ago4 months ago

    so the state claims 222 billion in the bank not allocating all the lottery money to the schools as promised read the fine print ! it says the state can give it to the schools or keep it , well they kept it and now are asking for more for the schools !

  30. jeffrey boggs 4 months ago4 months ago

    What happened to all that lottery money earmarked for schools in the billions by now?

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Jeffrey, I am copying an earlier answer to the same question: Revenue from the lottery goes to education – UC, CSU and community colleges as well as schools. But the Lottery has always overstated the amount of revenue that actually makes it to education, as the latest evaluation by the Legislative Analyst’s Office shows. The net revenue from lottery proceeds, after deducting prizes, marketing and administration, has risen a bit annually, from about $1 billion in 2008-09 … Read More

      Jeffrey, I am copying an earlier answer to the same question:

      Revenue from the lottery goes to education – UC, CSU and community colleges as well as schools.
      But the Lottery has always overstated the amount of revenue that actually makes it to education, as the latest evaluation by the Legislative Analyst’s Office shows. The net revenue from lottery proceeds, after deducting prizes, marketing and administration, has risen a bit annually, from about $1 billion in 2008-09 to about $1.7 billion a decade later. But the share of the lottery’s proceeds to education has declined (check out the graph).

      The state lottery provides about 1.5 percent of K-12 revenue. Every little bit helps, but in this case, I stress little.

  31. Julie 4 months ago4 months ago

    Howard taxpayers association is opposed to this, then so am I!

  32. Bob Mazzola 4 months ago4 months ago

    Wake up people. Another big money grab that the Governor through executive order can deflect the funds elsewhere like the gas tax they shoved down our throats. Seniors on fixed incomes will be forced to sell their homes as property taxes will probably go to 3 to 4 times what it is today. What is to stop them from future increases? Taxes will be passed down to renters and consumers in general. Values of properties … Read More

    Wake up people. Another big money grab that the Governor through executive order can deflect the funds elsewhere like the gas tax they shoved down our throats. Seniors on fixed incomes will be forced to sell their homes as property taxes will probably go to 3 to 4 times what it is today. What is to stop them from future increases? Taxes will be passed down to renters and consumers in general. Values of properties will plummet as buyers will be aware of the taxes attached. Destruction of California will now be accelerated!

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Let’s not confuse readers, Bob. You are writing about a proposal to increase commercial property taxes by changing the rules on taxation, which will likely be on the November ballot. This article is about a state construction bond, funded by the state’s General Fund, on the ballot in March. Different animals.

    • jeffrey boggs 4 months ago4 months ago

      Bob you are correct 100%. California is infamous for saying one thing while they lift your wallet. I live here; it’s a pattern I know !

  33. S Merkel 4 months ago4 months ago

    Why is it that the cost of information has gone down everywhere and gone up for schools? Why is it that brick and mortar shopping is changing and yet schools keep building edifices everywhere? It is because schools are a monopoly and the unions like having as many members as possible? Why not mandate that every university put every college course online for anyone to take for $100 a class? This is … Read More

    Why is it that the cost of information has gone down everywhere and gone up for schools? Why is it that brick and mortar shopping is changing and yet schools keep building edifices everywhere? It is because schools are a monopoly and the unions like having as many members as possible?

    Why not mandate that every university put every college course online for anyone to take for $100 a class? This is just greed on the part of an educational system that refuses to adapt to technology and educational unions that want to keep members so that they can get dues. The educational establishment would be better off if they paid every kid to take classes on Khan Academy. Don’t give them any more money until they change. Look at the results! Worst scores in the country.

    Replies

    • Kevin Arlin 3 months ago3 months ago

      It has always been true that students could perfectly well study whatever information they might want to learn at their local or university library. The fact that it's now possible to do this on a computer instead does not even approach the potential for a replacement of all the benefits a student receives from in-person instruction. The community college system is working quickly-too quickly for many-to develop more online alternatives, but those with the responsibility … Read More

      It has always been true that students could perfectly well study whatever information they might want to learn at their local or university library. The fact that it’s now possible to do this on a computer instead does not even approach the potential for a replacement of all the benefits a student receives from in-person instruction. The community college system is working quickly-too quickly for many-to develop more online alternatives, but those with the responsibility for actually producing tax-paying citizens don’t have the luxury of behaving like Silicon Valley disrupters. And I don’t really understand how online education is in any way relevant to K-12 education. Will our 7-year-olds be staying at home alone all day on their laptops?

  34. Susan Price-Jang 4 months ago4 months ago

    California's school buildings are aging and need to be updated. This includes removing water pipes with lead welds which we now know are damaging to children's health. I live in a house built in 1954, a time when a lot of our school buildings were constructed. My 1954 home has required an upgrade of the electrical system, a new insulated roof, old windows replaced with double paned ones, replacement of a few posts … Read More

    California’s school buildings are aging and need to be updated. This includes removing water pipes with lead welds which we now know are damaging to children’s health. I live in a house built in 1954, a time when a lot of our school buildings were constructed. My 1954 home has required an upgrade of the electrical system, a new insulated roof, old windows replaced with double paned ones, replacement of a few posts with wood rot, and new flooring. Schools receive even more wear and tear than a house; don’t be surprised that our schools need upgrades to electrical and plumbing systems and to make the buildings safer in the event of an earthquake. This is about buildings, not about test scores or text books.

  35. lloyd johnson 4 months ago4 months ago

    The Legislative Analyst analysis does say there is an $11 billion in interest to be paid on top of the original $15 billion in bonds. This alone should tell everyone this is a bad deal. He also reports the state has issued $35.7 billion in bonds since 2002; local districts have issued $154 billion in bonds. Sorry, that's enough money. Learn to live within your means. The bad Prop 13 also allows for local districts … Read More

    The Legislative Analyst analysis does say there is an $11 billion in interest to be paid on top of the original $15 billion in bonds. This alone should tell everyone this is a bad deal. He also reports the state has issued $35.7 billion in bonds since 2002; local districts have issued $154 billion in bonds. Sorry, that’s enough money. Learn to live within your means. The bad Prop 13 also allows for local districts to be allowed to issue higher amount of local general obligation bonds from 2.5 percent to 4 percent of the assessed property value. This crap proposition must be defeated!

  36. Carl 4 months ago4 months ago

    NO on this tax increase; stop taking my money and learn to live within your means.

  37. Elena rodriguex 4 months ago4 months ago

    If they ask for money, vote no no no because they promise to use it one way and do what ever they want or keep it themselves if they can, so no.

    Replies

    • jeffrey boggs 4 months ago4 months ago

      Elena, they prove this over and over. They claim $222 billion in the bank yet need more money for schools. In California we are charged more because we have sunshine and good weather, provided by God not liberals or Dems that make me pay for it! Soon California will pass an air tax: If you breathe, you pay!

  38. Randy Doyle 4 months ago4 months ago

    John - you do a good job of explaining this issue but I believe you may be overlooking some important aspects of the proposition. The proposition also increases the debt limit that the school districts can take on – thereby indirectly increasing the local and property tax burden not relieved by the State general fund. Additionally, the preferential use of union labor is a political payback to organized labor who backed this bill even though … Read More

    John – you do a good job of explaining this issue but I believe you may be overlooking some important aspects of the proposition. The proposition also increases the debt limit that the school districts can take on – thereby indirectly increasing the local and property tax burden not relieved by the State general fund. Additionally, the preferential use of union labor is a political payback to organized labor who backed this bill even though it will likely increase the overall cost of projects that cannot be bid on an even playing field since lower cost non-union contractors will be excluded. Overall, the proposition is very poorly worded such as to make it near impossible to understand such as “pursuant to Article 10.7 (commencing with Section 17077.60) of Chapter 12.5 of Part 10 of Division 1 of Title 1.” Huh?

  39. Rob Rangel 4 months ago4 months ago

    Your analysis is a bit disingenuous. Property taxes would rise, as the total assessment bite from schools would go up significantly. From 1.25% to 2.0% and from 2.5% to 4.0%. In addition, fees currently charged developers would shift to established property owners. The people who would profit off bond sales are in support of it, of course. This includes the financial sector, unions, bond managers, etc. The losers (again) are property owners who will … Read More

    Your analysis is a bit disingenuous. Property taxes would rise, as the total assessment bite from schools would go up significantly. From 1.25% to 2.0% and from 2.5% to 4.0%. In addition, fees currently charged developers would shift to established property owners. The people who would profit off bond sales are in support of it, of course. This includes the financial sector, unions, bond managers, etc. The losers (again) are property owners who will be on the hook for 35 years, which will be longer than the improvements will last. Vote no on more debt. Vote no on increasing property taxes.

  40. Steve Schulz 4 months ago4 months ago

    Doesn’t this go after changing how commercial property gets taxed?

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      No.

  41. Glen 4 months ago4 months ago

    Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assoc says different. It creates a split roll that allows business property taxes to be raised…a lot. It’s the first crack by state democrats to repeal the original Prop 13. Just look at who’s supporting this. Newsom, CTA, etc. It’s a pity the state can’t manage all the money the taxpayers have thrown at education in the past.
    https://www.hjta.org/news-events/taxing-times-online-fall-2019/ballot-measure-threatens-fracture-of-proposition-13/

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Glen, the article on the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association website that you link to clearly refers to a proposed initiative that will likely appear on the November ballot. For the umpteenth time, the proposed Schools and Communities First proposal has nothing to do with the state bond measure on the March ballot that my article is about.

      • Glen 4 months ago4 months ago

        John, you are correct about the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association article. It is only concerned withd the measure on the November ballot. However, there are still major issues with the Prop 13 on the March ballot as pointed out by the OC Register https://www.ocregister.com/2020/02/02/the-latest-prop-13-is-bad-for-taxpayers-vote-no-on-march-3/ Two big issues I have is that it raises the debt caps for school districts, which is a backdoor way of circumventing the original Prop 13 limitations; and it requires the use … Read More

        John, you are correct about the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association article. It is only concerned withd the measure on the November ballot. However, there are still major issues with the Prop 13 on the March ballot as pointed out by the OC Register https://www.ocregister.com/2020/02/02/the-latest-prop-13-is-bad-for-taxpayers-vote-no-on-march-3/
        Two big issues I have is that it raises the debt caps for school districts, which is a backdoor way of circumventing the original Prop 13 limitations; and it requires the use of union labor on any improvement project, which tends to increase costs, thereby mismanaging the funds the taxpayer would have voted for.

        • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

          Glen, you and others should vote as you want. But you should know that districts currently can -- and do – go to the State Board of Education for a waiver to exceed the debt cap on a district's bond capacity. This provision would remove the state board's involvement and leave it up to voters to decide if their district is issuing too much debt, raising taxes beyond what they consider prudent. Prop. 13 would … Read More

          Glen, you and others should vote as you want. But you should know that districts currently can — and do – go to the State Board of Education for a waiver to exceed the debt cap on a district’s bond capacity. This provision would remove the state board’s involvement and leave it up to voters to decide if their district is issuing too much debt, raising taxes beyond what they consider prudent.

          Prop. 13 would give districts that use union labor a priority for matching state money but would not require districts to have a labor union contract. Districts without union labor would still qualify for matching money, but they’d be further back in line.

  42. Richard Tassinari 4 months ago4 months ago

    Has an analysis been conducted to determine $15 billion is necessary to pay for the projects listed in the Proposition? If so, where can I find a copy of this analysis? If not, what criteria was used to establish the $15 billion figure?

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Richard, you can find some references to the need for the analyses of Assembly Bill 48 by staff for the legislative committees. Follow this link. The Assembly Higher Ed Committee analysis discusses CSU and UC building needs. The Senate Eduction Committee analysis looks at K-12.

    • Lizzy 4 months ago4 months ago

      Richard, if you doubt the need to spend this much money just take a walk through your local school.

      • Richard Tassinari 4 months ago4 months ago

        Certainly not objective nor measurable. I can walk through my local school and find both needed and extraneous items; but, I would not rely upon my ‘walk’ as being any kind of objective analysis and neither should you. Nor would I rely upon my ‘walk’ as a source to determine how much money is necessary to pay for any items I might propose to change.

  43. Nathan Thomson 4 months ago4 months ago

    Why not just pay for this out of the General State Fund? Also, that repayment plan is going to cost $26 Billion dollars on the $15 Billion over the next 35 years. That’s a lot of interest. There’s got to be a better way to pay for this.

  44. Cheryl 4 months ago4 months ago

    This is very confusing. Does anyone out there know what this is about?

    Replies

    • Judy 4 months ago4 months ago

      Yes, it is intended to be confusing so that property owners and all voters are deceived! It was done purposely just as the gas tax gave the voters exactly the opposite of what they thought they were voting for.

  45. greg srednicki 4 months ago4 months ago

    "The only opponents" as you say, happen to be every property owner in the state who pays property taxes and have to cover this outlandish money grab. There has never been more money thrown at so called "education' with nothing but dismal student scores to show for it. Take some of the money so called "higher education" extorts from their students tuition and pass that around to the school districts. There should be more than … Read More

    “The only opponents” as you say, happen to be every property owner in the state who pays property taxes and have to cover this outlandish money grab. There has never been more money thrown at so called “education’ with nothing but dismal student scores to show for it. Take some of the money so called “higher education” extorts from their students tuition and pass that around to the school districts. There should be more than enough!

  46. C Stroup 4 months ago4 months ago

    Vote No. No more debt, no more bonds. School districts need to manage their budgets like any other household, and that includes union packages for teachers and other school personnel. High school where I live has 16 high school counselors for about 1600 students. Do high school students these days have that great a need for counseling? Farm area is being built on the local high school property including approximately 8 … Read More

    Vote No. No more debt, no more bonds. School districts need to manage their budgets like any other household, and that includes union packages for teachers and other school personnel.

    High school where I live has 16 high school counselors for about 1600 students. Do high school students these days have that great a need for counseling? Farm area is being built on the local high school property including approximately 8 barns. An amazing array of sports and after school competitions are offered at the local high school as well. And now the State thinks that rather than examine how this money is being spent in the local school districts, that statewide taxpayers should authorize local communities (who may have voted “no” previously) to pay even more money for these special interests and projects. So even though the bond measure claims to be for renovations or new construction, et al, why hasn’t some of the already spent money on these types of projects been used instead to do repairs, bring schools up to date, or allocated for new construction?

    Until this question is answered, no more bonds for schools. Many of the high school campuses I have seen in California have begun to resemble what was once only seen on college campuses rather than high school campuses I attended in my high school days. Vote no on more debt. And by the way, I currently attend a public college in California.

  47. Judy Schmidt 4 months ago4 months ago

    It sounds to me that there are two separate initiatives being proposed: Prop 13 is a bond measure to raise funds for schools in CA. The other, also Prop 13 (and the name maybe later changed?) which changes part of the 1978 Prop 13, regarding taxes on commercial property. Please tell me if this is correct or not because it is really confusing to CA voters! If this is the case, I … Read More

    It sounds to me that there are two separate initiatives being proposed: Prop 13 is a bond measure to raise funds for schools in CA. The other, also Prop 13 (and the name maybe later changed?) which changes part of the 1978 Prop 13, regarding taxes on commercial property. Please tell me if this is correct or not because it is really confusing to CA voters! If this is the case, I feel bad for your Prop 13 initiative, because it is being confused with the other and no one wants to repeal any part of the original 1978 Prop 13. Can you please clarify, if any of my question makes sense. Lol. Thanks!

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Yes, Judy, it can be confusing. But to clarify ... Prop. 13 on the March ballot is a bond measure, but it will help with the costs of building projects for school districts, community colleges, UC and CSU -- not with their operating expenses. The funding sources for capital projects – new construction and repairs – and operating expenses are deliberately kept separate. The other is a proposed voter initiative for the November ballot. … Read More

      Yes, Judy, it can be confusing. But to clarify …

      Prop. 13 on the March ballot is a bond measure, but it will help with the costs of building projects for school districts, community colleges, UC and CSU — not with their operating expenses. The funding sources for capital projects – new construction and repairs – and operating expenses are deliberately kept separate.

      The other is a proposed voter initiative for the November ballot. Supporters of the Schools and Communities First initiative are gathering signatures. Until the state approves their plan, it has no number. It would change the rules for assessing commercial property, which were part of the Prop. 13 that voters approved in 1978.

      Every 10 years, the state starts the numbering process for items on the state ballot. That’s why there is a new Prop. 13. But the latest Prop.13 has nothing to do with the 1978 Prop. 13, although it appears that some people are deliberately spreading confusion with the hope that you and others would throw up your hands and vote down the construction bond.

      • Judy Schmidt 4 months ago4 months ago

        Thank you for getting back to me. Last question, I promise! How will this bond be paid for? Or shall I say, will we be taxed for it? I know a lot of people think their property taxes will be raised. Can you please set the record straight on this one! Thanks in advance! Judy

        • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

          Thanks for asking, Judy. The state will pay for state construction bond out of the state's General Fund over the next 35 years through annual payments for the principal and interest. That will be an estimated $740 million per year, equaling about a half-percent of the General Fund. The state bond will be used to defray the cost of district, community college and university construction projects. Districts pay for their own construction bonds through property … Read More

          Thanks for asking, Judy. The state will pay for state construction bond out of the state’s General Fund over the next 35 years through annual payments for the principal and interest. That will be an estimated $740 million per year, equaling about a half-percent of the General Fund. The state bond will be used to defray the cost of district, community college and university construction projects.

          Districts pay for their own construction bonds through property taxes. Many districts are proposing to pass bonds next month with the hope that some of the construction work will qualify for matching state funding. Check your local districts’ measures to see how much the local bonds would raise your property tax. Depending on whether districts are retiring past bonds at the same time, the impact could be a little or a lot or have no net impact.

  48. Nan vanEsch 4 months ago4 months ago

    We have paid on ” school bonds” for the last 25 plus years. This past year we’ve been charged a ” fire tax.” Any bond passed will be added directly to my property taxes.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Nan, a local bond that you and other property owners in your district would be paid through property taxes. The approval of a state construction bond on the March ballot would not raise your property taxes. The cost of the bond would be funded through state’s General Fund.

  49. Chris 4 months ago4 months ago

    Every time you raise taxes period, the money never goes to the school, it goes to pension and salaries not to hire more teachers and support activities for the kids, we are on to you politicians. If the new tax has nothing to do with raising property taxes, then why did you name it Prop. 13 and say it’s for bonds?.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Chris, I am copying the response I wrote to Judy. My fingers are getting tired. Prop. 13 on the March ballot is a bond measure; it will help with the costs of building projects for school districts, community colleges, UC and CSU — not with their operating expenses. The funding sources for capital projects – new construction and repairs – and operating expenses are deliberately kept separate. Every 10 years, the state starts the numbering process for items … Read More

      Chris,
      I am copying the response I wrote to Judy. My fingers are getting tired.

      Prop. 13 on the March ballot is a bond measure; it will help with the costs of building projects for school districts, community colleges, UC and CSU — not with their operating expenses. The funding sources for capital projects – new construction and repairs – and operating expenses are deliberately kept separate.

      Every 10 years, the state starts the numbering process for items on the state ballot. That’s why there is a new Prop. 13. But the latest Prop.13 has nothing to do with the 1978 Prop. 13, although it appears that some people are deliberately spreading confusion with the hope that you and others would throw up your hands and vote down the construction bond.

  50. Adam 4 months ago4 months ago

    We already pay 1.9% for our property taxes; 0.9 of that is for schools, the lottery is for schools and now this... the schools are not failing for lack of money, they are failing because the administrators are stealing money from the system and now they want more. Anyone voting yes for this is either rich or dumb. We are neither and we'll be voting hell-no. Don't forget the rebellion … Read More

    We already pay 1.9% for our property taxes; 0.9 of that is for schools, the lottery is for schools and now this… the schools are not failing for lack of money, they are failing because the administrators are stealing money from the system and now they want more. Anyone voting yes for this is either rich or dumb. We are neither and we’ll be voting hell-no. Don’t forget the rebellion against England was all about taxes, there are limits.

  51. Judieth Hart 4 months ago4 months ago

    I would like to know how much of the last School Bond’s money hasn’t reached the schools yet. Give them that money and let them use every penny of it.

    Anytime the General Fund is mentioned makes me nervous. That means you politicians will use it as you please. Such as the Train to nowhere. Is that right? Or am I wrong.

  52. Judieth Hart 4 months ago4 months ago

    School bonds are paid by raising property taxes, isn’t that correct..

  53. Jim Spatzenfeld 4 months ago4 months ago

    To be clear: This Proposition will raise property taxes and make housing more expensive. Therefore it will increase the homeless crisis.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Jim, could you explain how the state construction bond would raise property taxes and make housing more expensive?

  54. KEITH SHIOZAKI 4 months ago4 months ago

    This article states what the funds would be used for but where would the money come from to finance these programs?

  55. Noel Trujillo 4 months ago4 months ago

    Mr. Fensterwald, I find it very interesting that you fail to address how this money is going to be raised. If I read the proposition correctly “the measure would hike taxes on factories, stores and other commercial and industrial real estate by requiring they pay property tax based on current market value rather than the value of the property when it was purchased." ​ Does this “proposition” also ensure those companies won’t pass the rising … Read More

    Mr. Fensterwald, I find it very interesting that you fail to address how this money is going to be raised. If I read the proposition correctly “the measure would hike taxes on factories, stores and other commercial and industrial real estate by requiring they pay property tax based on current market value rather than the value of the property when it was purchased.” ​

    Does this “proposition” also ensure those companies won’t pass the rising costs to the customers? Does it also suspend or lower the costs of California University Tuition costs? Will the seven figure salaries of many school administrators also be suspended or lowered? Will contracts to refurbished these schools also be distributed to small non-union companies? If the People Republic of California can guarantee yes on all, I’ll vote yes.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Mr. Trujillo, I don't know where you are getting your information about the state construction bond, Prop. 13, on the March ballot, but clearly it is not by reading my article and the links that I have provided. You are making arguments against another proposed initiative, the Schools and Communities First proposal, which would alter the rules for limiting tax increases passed in 1978, which also drew the number Prop. 13. The two are unrelated. I will … Read More

      Mr. Trujillo,
      I don’t know where you are getting your information about the state construction bond, Prop. 13, on the March ballot, but clearly it is not by reading my article and the links that I have provided. You are making arguments against another proposed initiative, the Schools and Communities First proposal, which would alter the rules for limiting tax increases passed in 1978, which also drew the number Prop. 13.

      The two are unrelated. I will be happy to write about and answer questions about the so-called split roll initiative — but not here, not now. After the authors have collected enough signatures and the initiative qualifies, it will be given a number for the November ballot. It won’t be 13, and the state construction bond will have passed or been defeated.

      Let’s resume the discussion then. Meanwhile, please reread the my article and submit comments that apply to the state construction bond.

  56. RB Nelson 4 months ago4 months ago

    Mr. Fensterwald: You state in one of your answers "...the bonds that the state will issue through Prop. 13 will be paid back by the General Fund. Local bonds will be repaid through property taxes, yes. Districts that seek and qualify for subsidies from the state will see the costs of the local bonds lowered." How many districts are going to qualify for the lowered costs of the local bonds? I can guarantee you the more … Read More

    Mr. Fensterwald: You state in one of your answers “…the bonds that the state will issue through Prop. 13 will be paid back by the General Fund. Local bonds will be repaid through property taxes, yes. Districts that seek and qualify for subsidies from the state will see the costs of the local bonds lowered.”

    How many districts are going to qualify for the lowered costs of the local bonds? I can guarantee you the more affluent districts will 1) not qualify and 2) definitely not see lowered costs of local bonds, so how supporting Prop 13 help those of us in districts that aren’t going to benefit?

    I just want to know why every proposition seems to use phrases like ‘improve schools,’ ‘help underfunded schools,’ ‘help school districts, community colleges and universities pay for the cost of school facilities,’ or whatever flavor the phrase of the day may be. I thought the “bag tax” was to help with these issues, as well as monies from the state lotteries. Just how many more ways can one use ‘schools’ as an excuse to collect more monies? How about if monies collected went to real issues like Veterans, senior citizens, healthcare costs, medical costs. The list is endless for everything but school funding.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Good question, RB. How many districts receive funding, wealthy or not, will depend on how many districts apply and qualify for funding and how much in matching money they request. Low-income, low-wealth districts may get a slightly bigger match, but wealthy districts, which can afford to pay for top-notch facilities, will still their share: 50 percent for new construction and 60 percent for renovations. A few other observations: 1. Prop. 13 will provide $9 billion for … Read More

      Good question, RB. How many districts receive funding, wealthy or not, will depend on how many districts apply and qualify for funding and how much in matching money they request. Low-income, low-wealth districts may get a slightly bigger match, but wealthy districts, which can afford to pay for top-notch facilities, will still their share: 50 percent for new construction and 60 percent for renovations. A few other observations:
      1. Prop. 13 will provide $9 billion for K-12; that’s $2 billion more than from Prop. 51 in 2016 ($2 billion of its $9 billion went to community colleges);
      2. A bigger proportion of Prop.13 will go toward renovations and repairs, so more districts needing upgrades should qualify for funding;
      3. Districts that are shut out of the first two rounds of state bonds will go to the head of the line for the third round.

      As for revenue from lotteries, I refer you to my answer to LM or you can go straight to the source, the Legislative Analyst’s 2019 update.

  57. LM 4 months ago4 months ago

    Does anyone really know where all the California State Lottery money goes? I thought we voted that measure in to fund the schools. Was I wrong?

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    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      LM, you are right. Revenue from the lottery goes to education – UC, CSU and community colleges as well as schools. But the Lottery has always overstated the amount of revenue that actually makes it to education, as the latest evaluation by the Legislative Analyst's Office shows. The net revenue from lottery proceeds, after deducting prizes, marketing and administration, has risen a bit annually, from about $1 billion in 2008-09 to about $1.7 billion a decade … Read More

      LM, you are right. Revenue from the lottery goes to education – UC, CSU and community colleges as well as schools.
      But the Lottery has always overstated the amount of revenue that actually makes it to education, as the latest evaluation by the Legislative Analyst’s Office shows. The net revenue from lottery proceeds, after deducting prizes, marketing and administration, has risen a bit annually, from about $1 billion in 2008-09 to about $1.7 billion a decade later. But the share of the lottery’s proceeds to education has declined (check out the graph).

      The state lottery provides about 1.5 percent of K-12 revenue. Every little bit helps, but in this case, I stress little.

  58. MK 4 months ago4 months ago

    Just stopping by to say John Fensterwald is doing his best to slay ignorance. Thank you, John. And I will be voting YES for Prop 13.

  59. Richard Collins 4 months ago4 months ago

    Will there being any labor restrictions?

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    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Richard, you could characterize Prop. 13 has having incentives to use unionized construction labor, not restrictions. This is from the LAO analysis: The state would replace its existing first-come, first-served approach for reviewing applications with new rules. The new rules set forth certain prioritization categories. Health and life-safety projects would receive highest priority, followed by applications submitted by districts that have difficulty raising their local share and projects that test for and address lead in water at school sites, among … Read More

      Richard, you could characterize Prop. 13 has having incentives to use unionized construction labor, not restrictions. This is from the LAO analysis:

      The state would replace its existing first-come, first-served approach for
      reviewing applications with new rules. The new rules set forth certain prioritization categories.
      Health and life-safety projects would receive highest priority, followed by applications submitted
      by districts that have difficulty raising their local share and projects that test for and address lead
      in water at school sites, among other categories. Within each of these priority categories,
      applications would be further prioritized if districts have an agreement to use unionized
      construction labor.

  60. Mel Smith 4 months ago4 months ago

    I will be voting no on Prop. 13 and I am urging my employees, business associates and friends to vote no as well because of the Project Labor Agreement attached to it. The construction projects under this bond are Public Work not Union Work.

  61. Marg Brackett 4 months ago4 months ago

    Mr. Fensterwald, you are incorrect. School bonds are paid back exclusively with property tax. What it does is raise the limits that local schools can borrow and yes it is and will be on your property tax bill…therefore another attack on Prop.13!

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    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      What I wrote – and you can follow the links at the bottom to verify – is that the bonds that the state will issue through Prop. 13 will be paid back by the General Fund. Local bonds will be repaid through property taxes, yes. Districts that seek and qualify for subsidies from the state will see the costs of the local bonds lowered.

  62. Terry Nelson 4 months ago4 months ago

    There is no reasonable defense for this measure. You have a State with a $21 billion surplus that wants to borrow more money. Eventually, the residents of CA pay for this through increased fees, taxes, consumer costs, etc. It's always about the children and the money never seems to make it to the kids or it gets eaten up by the many consultants they State pays off. It's all BS. Vote no! … Read More

    There is no reasonable defense for this measure. You have a State with a $21 billion surplus that wants to borrow more money. Eventually, the residents of CA pay for this through increased fees, taxes, consumer costs, etc. It’s always about the children and the money never seems to make it to the kids or it gets eaten up by the many consultants they State pays off.
    It’s all BS. Vote no! Until this State stops its giveaway program and gets serious about being fiscally responsible and takes its hands out of the taxpayers’ pockets, everything should be a no vote.

  63. JudiAU 4 months ago4 months ago

    I’m particularly interested in the plans for technical colleges and college housing.

  64. James M Emick 4 months ago4 months ago

    If you don’t think this is an attack on Prop 13 you are sadly mistaken. This will raise all property taxes on commercial properties which you the customers of those properties will pay. Yes, you voters will be paying for this. And it is a first run at prop 13 for residential properties. You will pay for this and when they get down to the real meat on prop 13 your property taxes will also … Read More

    If you don’t think this is an attack on Prop 13 you are sadly mistaken. This will raise all property taxes on commercial properties which you the customers of those properties will pay. Yes, you voters will be paying for this. And it is a first run at prop 13 for residential properties. You will pay for this and when they get down to the real meat on prop 13 your property taxes will also go up 400 to 600 percent. Again do not fall for this.

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    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      James, you are confusing the proposal for a state bond to underwrite the costs of school and university facilities with an initiative that unions and community groups are proposing for the November ballot that would change the 1978 Prop. 13's rules for taxing commercial property. You can read about that proposal here: https://www.schoolsandcommunitiesfirst.org/ There will be lots to debate about if sponsors gather enough signatures to put it on the ballot. Meanwhile, the school … Read More

      James, you are confusing the proposal for a state bond to underwrite the costs of school and university facilities with an initiative that unions and community groups are proposing for the November ballot that would change the 1978 Prop. 13’s rules for taxing commercial property. You can read about that proposal here:

      https://www.schoolsandcommunitiesfirst.org/

      There will be lots to debate about if sponsors gather enough signatures to put it on the ballot. Meanwhile, the school bond, which has nothing to do with the Prop 13 passed in 1978, will be voted on next month.

  65. James M Emick 4 months ago4 months ago

    Don’t believe it folks, none of the money goes to schools , it all goes into general fund , they use (children) and (schools) to make you think it goes to a good cause. Remember how Baccera worded the gas tax hike? He is word smithing this one to tug at your heart. Don’t fall for the bull.

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    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      James, call it "bull," but what you are saying is simply not true. The $15 billion that will be raised from passing Prop.13, will be issued in the form of bonds to help school districts, community colleges and universities pay for the cost of school facilities. Even if state government wanted to do something else with the money, it couldn't. As the article says, the money will not go into the General Fund. To … Read More

      James, call it “bull,” but what you are saying is simply not true. The $15 billion that will be raised from passing Prop.13, will be issued in the form of bonds to help school districts, community colleges and universities pay for the cost of school facilities. Even if state government wanted to do something else with the money, it couldn’t. As the article says, the money will not go into the General Fund. To the contrary, about $740 million per year for the next 35 years will come out of the General Fund to pay back the costs of the principal and interest of the bonds.

  66. Dennis Kimball 4 months ago4 months ago

    I still think the number should be changed, just because a lot of people will think they should vote yes to protect their current Prop 13 tax basis. Also, what are the typical amounts the property taxes will rise on an average home price of let’s say 500k if this Prop 13/2020 passes?

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    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Dennis, Passing Prop. 13 will not raise your property taxes at all, because the State will repay the interest and principal on the $15 billion worth of bonds through the state’s General Fund. Your property taxes would rise only if, in the future, voters in your school district pass a facilities bond to pay for new buildings or renovations – a separate issue entirely. If they approve, your district could seek some of the state Prop. 13 … Read More

      Dennis,
      Passing Prop. 13 will not raise your property taxes at all, because the State will repay the interest and principal on the $15 billion worth of bonds through the state’s General Fund.

      Your property taxes would rise only if, in the future, voters in your school district pass a facilities bond to pay for new buildings or renovations – a separate issue entirely. If they approve, your district could seek some of the state Prop. 13 funding to offset local costs.

      How much your property taxes would rise if voters in your district approved a new facilities bond would depend on the size of the bond and the size of the property tax base in your district. That will vary from district to district.

  67. Adda 4 months ago4 months ago

    California School Systems does not need more money. It needs accountability for the multiple millions already given from taxpayers – both Federal and State funds. What California education needs is parental engagement and accountability in their children’s education

  68. Bruce Nolte 4 months ago4 months ago

    The Prop number (13) should have been retired years ago. It is confusing a lot of people. They think it will affect their real estate taxes.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

      Agree, Bruce. But much of the confusion I’ve seen appears deliberate, by those intentionally spreading misinformation on Facebook with the false claim that the bond is an underhanded attack to remove homeowner protections under Prop. 13.

      Answer the trolls!

  69. Christopher Swanigan 4 months ago4 months ago

    Its always a bad idea to give the government money, and expect it to be used correctly. Vote no on all taxes, and donate funds to causes close to your heart.

  70. Nancy Barney 4 months ago4 months ago

    This is a total rip off. Do not believe a word of it. It totally is all about our property taxes that will increase and thousands of us will have to move out of Calif and possibly lose our homes. Vote no on this proposition…..think about what it says and where is the money going to come from?????

  71. Carleen Wing Chandler 4 months ago4 months ago

    Thank you for posting this article. There is a great deal of misinformation being circulated implying that this proposition changes homeowners’ property taxes under Proposition 13.

  72. Gregory Lin Lipford 4 months ago4 months ago

    “Why has it been proposed?” would be a more objective statement than “Why is it needed?” The whole issue is whether it is needed.

  73. Lysa Schaffner 4 months ago4 months ago

    Ok, as the SD homeowner is concerned, so are we! On top of the proposed Prop 13 we as homeowners already have loads of bonds already attached to our schools; therefore our annual home taxes are already at a high! All over this state individual cities are demanding more props and more and now this multibillion is on top of the bonds we already bear? That's double taxing!! No, until the cities, county and state … Read More

    Ok, as the SD homeowner is concerned, so are we! On top of the proposed Prop 13 we as homeowners already have loads of bonds already attached to our schools; therefore our annual home taxes are already at a high! All over this state individual cities are demanding more props and more and now this multibillion is on top of the bonds we already bear? That’s double taxing!!

    No, until the cities, county and state get their stories straight, we’re not buying it. This bill was shoved through without votes and it’s not an urgent as stated, at some point you have to pick your poison. Free rent? Free healthcare? More money into schools on top of current bonds? You can’t have them all!

  74. SD Parent 4 months ago4 months ago

    I appreciate the information on changes to the rate caps based on assessed property values. Since none of the links offer the actual language of Prop 13, can we assume that the change in the school bond rate caps only apply to future local bond measures? Regardless, if this Prop 13 increases the cap allowed on school bonds, it's safe to say that it could increase taxes levied against properties (if there are local … Read More

    I appreciate the information on changes to the rate caps based on assessed property values. Since none of the links offer the actual language of Prop 13, can we assume that the change in the school bond rate caps only apply to future local bond measures?

    Regardless, if this Prop 13 increases the cap allowed on school bonds, it’s safe to say that it could increase taxes levied against properties (if there are local school bond measures). In general, homeowners don’t do the math on their property taxes before voting for school bonds, and nearly doubling the school bond rate caps would not be a trivial change to one’s tax bill, even if just for future school bond measures.

    For example, homeowners within San Diego Unified’s borders are shocked at how much the cost of SDUSD’s three school bonds–totaling $8.4 billion (not a typo) since 2008–have already increased their property tax bills. SDUSD was “clever” and pitched the third school bond to voters, who want to support schools, before selling most of the second bond, so homeowners are only starting to realize how much those school bonds are going to cost them.

    Replies

      • JRoss 4 months ago4 months ago

        It seems every time the state needs more money, a bond measure disguised as a “School Bond” appears on the ballot. No matter how it is presented, any bond measure passed is ultimately an increase in our taxes, in any form. And why do we continue to tolerate mediocrity in our educational system? Schools need to be rewarded when run well and our children are educated properly. Providing more funds regardless of how the schools … Read More

        It seems every time the state needs more money, a bond measure disguised as a “School Bond” appears on the ballot. No matter how it is presented, any bond measure passed is ultimately an increase in our taxes, in any form. And why do we continue to tolerate mediocrity in our educational system?

        Schools need to be rewarded when run well and our children are educated properly. Providing more funds regardless of how the schools fare is allowing the ones who fall below the minimum requirements continue to underachieve. That’s unacceptable.

        • John Fensterwald 4 months ago4 months ago

          JRoss, there is nothing deceiving about the title of the measure on the March ballot: the Public Preschool, K–12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020. It is what it says, a bond that will raise money to help school districts, community colleges, CSU and UC with their building needs. Buildings age; roofs need replacing, electrical systems need updating. Some schools have lead in their drinking water that needs to be removed. If … Read More

          JRoss, there is nothing deceiving about the title of the measure on the March ballot: the Public Preschool, K–12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020. It is what it says, a bond that will raise money to help school districts, community colleges, CSU and UC with their building needs. Buildings age; roofs need replacing, electrical systems need updating. Some schools have lead in their drinking water that needs to be removed. If you don’t feel your school district has been a good steward of facilities, vote down your local bond, if and when it appears on the local ballot. There will be plenty of districts whose voters will approve local bonds, confident their money will be well spent. The proposed state bond, which happens to be numbered Prop. 13, will provide matching state dollars to help them with their costs.

      • Dan Deaton 4 months ago4 months ago

        If you weren’t trying to confuse voters and home owners. Why vote yes to mean no, this is BS. I’ve lived in my home for 45 years, and Prop. 13 has helped my wife and I.
        Be honest, yes means yes.
        And no means no! Do you see why we’re are skeptical of your wording?