McGeorge School of Law

Proposition 47

Proposition 47:
Shoring Up California's Schools with
The Kindergarten-University
Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2002

By Dennis Chin

Copyright © 2002 by University of the McGeorge School of Law

JD, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
to be conferred May 2003
B.A., Biophysics, University of California at Berkeley

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary
II. The Law
III. Drafting Issues
IV. Constitutional Issues
V. Public Policy Considerations
VI. Conclusion

I. Executive Summary

According to the California Senate Rules Committee's analysis of Assembly Bill 16 (Hertzberg), there is a need for $21.1 billion in state bonds for K-12 school facilities to meet increasing enrollment demand and modernization needs over the next four years. Cal. Sen. Rules. Comm., Analysis of AB 16, at 8 (April 3, 2002); Telephone Interview with Christopher Carlisle, Legislative Director and Counsel for Robert M. Hertzberg, Speaker Emeritus of the California State Assembly (June 28, 2002). Additionally, $9 billion is needed for facilities in the University of California, California State University, and the California Community Colleges in the next four years. Id. Proposition 47, entitled the Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2002, would provide aid to school districts, county superintendents of schools, county boards of education, and higher public educational institutions to modernize educational facilities. Cal. Assembly 16, 2001-2002 Reg. Sess. 29 (April 26, 2002). Proposition 47, with voter approval, would authorize the sale and issuance of state general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $13.05 billion. Id. at 2.

Proposition 47 follows the passage of Proposition 1A - The Class-Size Reduction Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 1998, which authorized $9.2 billion in state general obligation bonds for education facilities. Id. at 1. Proposition 1A was enacted to provide funding for necessary education facilities for at least four years for class-size reduction, to relieve overcrowding and accommodate student enrollment growth, to repair older schools, and for wiring and cabling for education technology. California Secretary of State, Class Size Reduction Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act Of 1998, Official Title And Summary Prepared By The Attorney General (accessed June 19, 2002). Funds from Proposition 1A were also used to upgrade and build new classrooms in community colleges, the California State University, and the University of California. Id.

According to the California Senate Rules Committee, Proposition 1A bond funds were determined to be exhausted by mid-2002. Cal. Sen. Rules. Comm., Analysis of AB 16, at 2. School projects throughout the state are on hold because there exists a lack of state funding. California School Boards Association, $25 Billion Bond Key To School Facilities Crisis (accessed June 19, 2002). Proposition 47 would be an extension of the existing Proposition 1A facilities program. California State Assembly Republican Caucus, Update on Bond Measures Considered by the Legislature in 2001 gov/Issues/Budget/bondupdate.htm> (accessed June 19, 2002). Passage of Proposition 47 will allow school districts to immediately start work on the projects that are on hold. California School Boards Association .

The goals of Proposition 47 are to maintain and improve the quality of education in California by allowing school districts and higher public educational institutions to modernize old buildings and to construct new facilities to relieve overcrowded classrooms. Telephone Interview with Christopher Carlisle.

Passage of Proposition 47 would target funds to ensure that new schools are built where conditions of overcrowding are the most serious. California School Boards Association . Proposition 47 aims to strike a fair balance between the need to begin work on school projects that are ready to go, and the need to set aside funds for projects in densely populated communities. Id.

Of the $13.05 billion, $11.4 billion of the general obligation bonds for K-12 education facilities would be divided as follows:

 

· $4.8 billion for the so-called "pipeline projects" that have been approved, but are awaiting funds
· $3.45 billion for new school construction related to growth
· $1.4 billion for modernization of older schools
· $1.7 billion for "critically overcrowded" schools
· $50 million for joint-use facilities

 

Cal. Sen. Rules. Comm., Analysis of AB 16, at 3.

Additionally, $1.65 billion would go to higher education facilities as follows:

 

· $408.2 million for the University of California
· $495.9 million for the California State University
· $745.9 million for the California Community Colleges

 

General obligation bonds are supported by the state, meaning the state is obligated to pay the principal and interest costs on these bonds. California Secretary of State, California Official Voter Information Guide, Analysis of Prop. 47 Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2002, Analysis by the Legislative Analyst (accessed October 1, 2002). General Fund revenues would be used to pay for these costs. Id. These revenues come from state income and sales taxes. Id. The proceeds of the bonds issued and sold would be deposited in the 2002 State School Facilities Fund and allocated by the State Allocation Board. Cal. Assembly 16, 2001-2002 Reg. Sess. 34. The repayment terms for the bonds have not been set, as the terms will be worked out when the bonds are sold by the State Treasurer's office. Telephone interview with Chris Guyer, Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst, Legislative Analyst Office (June 28, 2002). General Fund debt service would vary depending on the rate at which the bonds would be sold, because many of these bonds may not be sold for several years. Cal. Sen. Rules. Comm., Analysis of AB 16, at 9. According to the Legislative Analyst, if $13.05 billion in bonds are sold at an interest rate of 5.25 percent (the current rate for this type of bond) and repaid over 30 years, the cost over the period would be approximately $26.2 billion to pay off both the principal ($13.05 billion) and interest ($13.15 billion). California Secretary of State ://voterguide.ss.ca.gov/propositions2.asp?id=225&sID=2>. The average payment for principal and interest would be approximately $873 million/year. Id.

II. The Law

 

A. Existing Law

1. Background

 

 

Proposition 47 is part of a continued response to class-size reduction and a need to provide funding for necessary education facilities to relieve overcrowding, accommodate student enrollment growth, and to repair older schools. California State Assembly Republican Caucus . Fifty-five percent of California's public school buildings are more than 30 years old. Robert M. Hertzberg and Bill Leonard, Guest Commentary, Contra Costa Times, Bond's Goals To Make Schools Superior Again opinion/3154730.htm> (April 28, 2002). Because of aging schools, many schools are in need of basic repairs and routine maintenance. Id. Compounding the problem is schools have not been properly maintained since the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, which limited property tax increases. Id. In order to maintain educational programs, school boards statewide have been forced to postpone maintenance to the point where many schools are in disrepair and have crowded classrooms. Id.

Under current law, the State School Facilities Program in the State of California, funding for construction of new schools and modernization of old schools comes from state and local sources. Cal. Sen. Rules. Comm., Analysis of AB 16, at 2. State funding comes from voter-approved general obligation bonds and is allocated to school districts via the State Allocation Board pursuant to the Leroy F. Greene State School Facilities Act of 1998 (Senate Bill 50, Chapter 407, Statutes of 1998). Id. Local funding comes from local General Obligation bonds, Mello-Roos bonds, and developer fees. Id.

Since November 1982, California voters have voted on state propositions to provide general obligation bonds for K-12 school construction. Id. at 8. The only one that failed was Proposition 1B in June 1994, which failed by 0.4 percent of the vote. Id. at 9. The last state school facilities bond issued prior to 1998 was a $3.0 billion initiative measure passed in 1996. Id. at 9. In 1998, voters approved $9.2 billion in school bonds, but that money will have been fully allocated by mid-2002. Id. at 2.

Consequently, the state now needs to invest billions of dollars to update basic infrastructure such as plumbing, heating and cooling systems, and electrical wiring. Hertzberg and Leonard 3154730.htm>. Experts estimate the state has added more than 300,000 new students during the past five years. Id. More important, enrollment in elementary schools are expected to grow through 2006, which means high school populations will grow through the end of this decade. Id. At the same time, more than 700,000 additional students will be enrolling at California colleges or universities. Id.

To accommodate those students, it is estimated the state needs billions of dollars for new classrooms, computer and science laboratories, and athletic and arts facilities. Id.
Additionally, the state's successful class-size reduction program has had a profound effect on the need for school buildings. Id. The program reduced class sizes for an estimated 85 percent of the state's K-3 classrooms, requiring additional classrooms to accommodate the increase in K-3 classes. Id.

 

2. Proposition 1A

 

Prior to the passage of Proposition 1A, the Class-Size Reduction Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 1998, two years had passed since the issuance of the last bond provided funding for educational facilities. Cal. Sen. Rules. Comm., Analysis of AB 16, at 9. In November 1998, voters approved Proposition 1A passed with 62.5% in favor of the measure. California Secretary of State, Vote 98, State Ballot Measures (accessed June 17, 2002). The measure, the largest educational bond in the state's history with a bond issue of $9.2 billion, funded new construction and modernization of schools on a first-come, first-served basis with a streamlined application process. California State Assembly Republican Caucus .

Of the $9.2 billion in state general obligation bonds for education facilities, $2.5 billion was for higher education facilities and $6.7 billion was for K-12 facilities. California Secretary of State, Vote 98, Class Size Reduction Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 1998, Analysis by the Legislative Analyst (accessed June 19, 2002). At least $2.9 billion of the $6.7 billion went towards buying land and constructing new school buildings. Id. This part of the measure required a state/local match of 50/50 for new construction. Id. Additionally, at least $2.1 billion of the $6.7 billion was for reconstructing or modernizing existing school buildings. Id. School districts were required to pay for 20 percent of the eligible project costs with local resources. Id. This meant the measure required a state/local match of 80/20 for modernization of existing buildings. Id. In other words, a state/local match of 80/20 for modernization signified that the State Allocation Board released disbursements to school districts with approved modernization, to the extent state funds were available for the state's 80% share, and the school district had provided its 20% local match. Cal. Assembly 16, 2001-2002 Reg. Sess. 12.

Further, up to $700 million went towards facilities costs related to the Class-Size Reduction Program. California Secretary of State . Also, up to $1 billion were for projects where the state determined that a district either was unable to provide sufficient local matching funds for financial reasons or would incur excessive school construction costs that were beyond the district's control. Id. According to the California Senate Rules Committee, these state bond funds will have been fully allocated by mid-2002. Cal. Sen. Rules. Comm., Analysis of AB 16, at 2.

 

B. The Effects of Proposition 47

 

 

Assembly Bill 16 (Hertzberg) authorized Proposition 47 to be submitted to the voters at the November 5, 2002, election. Cal. Assembly 16, 2001-2002 Reg. Sess. 2. Voter approval of Proposition 47 would result in general obligation bonds being issued in the total amount of $13.05 billion. Id. Of the $13.05 billion, $11.4 billion would be earmarked for K-12 education facilities. Id. at 31. Since the State Allocation Board currently has a backlog of construction projects that have been on hold because of a lack of funds, $4.8 billion of the $11.4 billion would go to new construction and modernization projects, also known as "pipeline projects," that have been approved by the Office of Public Construction and the State Allocation Board on or before February 1, 2002, but are awaiting funds; $2.9 million for construction of new schools and $1.9 million for modernization of existing schools. California State Senate Republican Caucus (accessed June 17, 2002).

Further, $1.7 of the $11.4 billion would be allocated for Critically Overcrowded Schools, and $50 million for joint-use projects to construct facilities on K-12 school sites. Cal. Assembly 16, 2001-2002 Reg. Sess. 30. According to AB 16, Critically Overcrowded Schools are schools that have a high number of students per acre. Id. at 21. Specifically, AB 16 defines Critically Overcrowded Schools as schools that have pupil population density greater than 115 pupils per acre in grades K-6, or greater than 90 pupils per acre in grades 7-12. Id. The joint-use project is for a kindergarten to grade 12/higher education collaborative effort to improve academic achievement or provide teacher education. Id. at 18. The joint-use project will increase the size or extra cost associated with the joint use of multipurpose rooms, libraries, gymnasiums, and childcare facilities. Id. The joint use partners may be community colleges, universities, or other governmental facilities. Id.

Moreover, of the $11.4 billion, $1.4 billion would be allocated for modernization of older schools in school districts that have filed an application with the Office of Public School Construction after February 1, 2002. Id. at 30. Older school buildings are defined as 50 years old or older. Id. at 13.

Similar to Proposition 1A, Proposition 47 for new construction remains unchanged and will require a state/local match of 50/50. However, the old 80/20 requirement for modernization will only apply to applications filed on or before March 15, 2002. Id. at 12. For those modernization applications filed after March 15, 2002, the state/local match will be 60/40. Id. at 13.

Additionally, $3.45 billion of the $11.4 billion would go towards new school construction related to growth. Id. at 29. Of this $3.45 billion, $100 million is set aside for charter schools, subject to subsequent charter school legislation, and $25 million is for school relief, if Proposition 46, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2002 is not approved by the voters at the November 2002 election. Id. Passage of Proposition 46 would provide $50 million to the School Facilities Fee Assistance Fund, which would be used for making payments to buyers of new homes in an economically distressed area in the amount of a school facility fee. Cal. Health and Safety Code §§ 51451.5, 51453.

The remaining $1.65 billion of the $13.05 billion would go towards higher education facilities; $408.2 million for the University of California, $495.9 million for the California State University, and $745.9 million for the California Community Colleges. Id. at 36.

Proposition 47 allows the State Treasurer to sell $13.05 billion of general obligation bonds as authorized by the State School Building Finance Committee at any different times necessary to service expenditures required by apportionments. Id. at 32. Successive issues of bonds may be authorized and sold to fund those apportionments progressively, and it is not necessary that all of the bonds authorized to be issued be sold at any one time. Id. at 33. The proceeds from the sale of bonds, issued and sold pursuant to Proposition 47 would be deposited in the 2002 State School Facilities Fund and would be allocated by the State Allocation Board. Id. Proposition 47 provides that all money deposited in the 2002 State School Facilities Fund, that is derived from premium and accrued interest in bonds sold, shall be reserved in the fund and be available for transfer to the General Fund as a credit to expenditures for bond interest. Id.

III. Drafting Issues

At first blush, Proposition 47 clearly states what it intends to accomplish. In short, Proposition 47 would provide aid to school districts, county superintendents of schools, county boards of education, and higher public educational institutions to modernize educational facilities. Id. at 29. However, there exists ambiguous terminology in the text of Proposition 47, thus making it difficult to ascertain the full effects of Proposition 47, despite its clear objectives. As indicated above, Proposition 47 provides that of the $11.4 billion allocated for K-12 education facilities, $3.45 billion would go towards new school construction related to growth. Id. at 29. Of this $3.45 billion, up to $100 million shall be available for providing school facilities to charter schools pursuant to a statute enacted after the effective date of Proposition 47. Id. One ambiguity concern is what the statute entails. A plain reading of the text gives the reader no idea of what the statute encompasses. However, legislation is currently being developed to address the charter school issue raised in AB 16. Telephone interview with Karen McGagin, Deputy Executive Officer, Office of Public School Construction (July 1, 2002). Thus, it is unlikely that Proposition 47 will be challenged on the ground that it contains ambiguous phrases alone.

Additionally, the text of Proposition 47 provides for $1.7 billion for Critically Overcrowded Schools. Id. at 30. However, the text of Proposition 47 does not mention the fact that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) would get approximately 41% of this amount, because the LAUSD houses about 12% of the state's students. Jim Sanders, Sacramento Bee, School Bonds Head To Voters content/news/education/story/2056862p-2348560c.html> (April 5, 2002). AB 16 provides that if funds are insufficient to fully fund all of the preliminary applications submitted by May 1, 2003 for projects to be funded with the bond proceeds approved by the voters at the November 2002 election, the State Allocation Board shall apportion first to those projects that would house pupils from schools with the highest pupil density levels. Cal. Assembly 16, 2002, at 21. Since Los Angeles houses a bigger portion of the state's students than most other school districts, Los Angeles would consume much of the money to the detriment of suburban and rural communities. Jim Sanders sacbee.com/content/news/education/story/2056862p-2348560c.html>. With LAUSD receiving a disproportionate amount compared to suburban and rural schools, the final language of text of Proposition 47 explicitly omitted this fact. Opponents of AB 16 expressed concerns regarding this inequity. E-mail from Kerry Yoshida, staff member to California Assemblymember Bob Margett to Dennis Chin regarding Margett's press release to the UCLA Magazine (June 28, 2002). Additionally, LAUSD is eligible for over 24% of the new construction funds. California Secretary of State, California Official Voter Information Guide, Analysis of Prop. 47 Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2002, Arguments and Rebuttals propositions2.asp?id=225&sID=3> (accessed October 1, 2002). Although Proposition 47 does not expressly mention these facts, it is unlikely that it will be challenged on its omission, but rather opponents will raise it as a public policy consideration to the voters before the November 2002 election. This issue will be revisited in a discussion below.

IV. Constitutional Issues

 

A. Federal Constitution

 

 

Proposition 47 does not raise any federal constitutional issues.

 

B. State Constitution

 

There does not appear to be any state constitutional conflicts expressly raised by Proposition 47. However, there are a couple of interesting points that deserve attention.

 

1. Public Finance

 

California Constitution Article XVI, § 1.5 allows the Legislature to create and establish a "General Obligation Bond Proceeds Fund" in the State Treasury, and provide for the proceeds of the sale of the general obligation bonds to be paid into or transferred to the "General Obligation Bond Proceeds Fund." Cal. Const. Art. XVI § 1.5. A bond is a long-term, interest bearing debt instrument that the government issues to provide for a particular financial need. Black's Law Dictionary 69 (Bryan A. Garner ed., pocket ed., West 1996). General obligation bonds are supported by the state, meaning that the state is obligated to pay the principal and interest costs on these bonds. California Secretary of State . General Fund revenues would be used to pay for these costs. Id. These revenues come primarily from state income and sales taxes. Id.

Additionally, section 1.5 of Article 16 of the California Constitution provides that accounts shall be maintained in the "General Obligation Bond Proceeds Fund" of all moneys deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of that fund, and proceeds of each bond issue shall be maintained as a separate and distinct account and be paid out only in accordance with the law authorizing the issuance of the particular bonds from which the proceeds were derived. Cal. Const. Art. XVI, § 1.5. Further, section 2 of Article 16 of the California Constitution indicates that each measure providing for the preparation, issuance, and sale of bonds of the State of California shall be submitted to the electors in the form of a bond act or statute. Cal. Const. Art. XVI, § 2.

Proposition 47 appears to comply with the California Constitution. Proposition 47 provides that bonds in the total amount of $13.05 billion may be issued and sold to provide a fund for carrying out the purposes of Proposition 47 and to reimburse the General Obligation Bond Expense Revolving Fund. Cal. Assembly 16, 2001-2002 Reg. Sess. 28. Proposition 47 adheres to section 1.5 of Article XVI of the California Constitution, because the Legislature in creating AB 16, which authorized Proposition 47 to be submitted to the voters for the November 2002 election, created and established a General Obligation Bond Proceeds Fund in the form of a General Obligation Bond Expense Revolving Fund for the handling of the proceeds from the issuances of the bonds.

Moreover, Proposition 47 complies with Section 2 of Article XVI of the California Constitution, because Proposition 47, which provides for the preparation, issuance, and sale of bonds in California, is submitted to the electors in the form of a bond act. Id. at 2.

2. Single Subject Rule

 

California Constitution Article II, section 8(d) provides that an initiative measure embracing more than one subject may not be submitted to the electors or have any effect. Cal. Const. Art. II, section 8(d) (Deerings 1999). The California Supreme Court has established a standard requiring separate parts of an initiative to be reasonably germane to each other. Brosnahan v. Brown, 32 Cal. 3d 236, 241 (1982). In Legislature v. Eu, 54 Cal. 3d 492 (1991), the California Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution's single subject rule broadly. The state's high court held that as long as provisions of an initiative are reasonably related to a common theme or purpose, the measure does not violate the single subject rule. Id. The inquiry in that case was whether the sections were reasonably germane to the single subject of incumbency reform. Id. at 514.

The provisions of Proposition 47 do not appear to violate the single subject rule. The goals of Proposition 47 are to maintain and improve the quality of education in California by allowing school districts and higher public educational institutions to modernize old buildings and construct new facilities the relieve the overcrowded classrooms. Telephone Interview with Christopher Carlisle. However, the text of Proposition 47 provides that if voters do not approve Proposition 46, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2002, in the November 2002 election, then $25 million of the Bond Act proceeds shall be available for the purposes of Sections 51451.5, 51453, and 51455 of the Health and Safety Code. Cal. Assembly 16, 2001-2002 Reg. Sess. 29. In other words, $25 million will be made available for reimbursements to homebuyers for fees paid to school districts to fund new facilities if voters do not approve of Proposition 46.

At first impression, it would appear that an allocation of $25 million for school relief and voter approval of Proposition 46, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2002 at the November 2002 election, do not fall within the same subject. What does the approval of the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund of 2002 have to do with a school facilities bond act?

However, upon closer examination, passage of the Proposition 46, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2002 would provide $50 million to the School Facilities Fee Assistance Fund, which would be used for making payments to buyers of new homes in an economically distressed area in the amount of a school facility fee. Cal. Sen. 1227, 2001-2002 Reg. Sess. at section 8, Chapter 4 - Allocation of Housing Bond Revenues, Cal. Health and Safety Code §§ 51451.5, 51453. Specifically, Proposition 47 provides that passage of Proposition 46, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2002, would provide $50 million to the School Facilities Fee Assistance Fund as provided by subdivision (a) of Health and Safety Code § 51453 to be used for the Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance Program of 2002 established by § 51451.5. Cal. Sen. 1227, 2001-2002 Reg. Sess. at section 8, Chapter 4 - Allocation of Housing Bond Revenues. Health and Safety Code § 51453 provides that $50 million of the School Facilities Fee Assistance Fund would be used for, inter alia, making payments to purchasers of newly constructed residential structures pursuant to section 51451.5 from that fund for a period of four years. Cal. Health and Safety Code § 51453. Health and Safety Code § 51451.5 states that the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund of 2002 along with the Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance Program of 2002 would provide down payment assistance to the purchaser of any newly constructed residential structure in a development project in an economically distressed area in the amount of school facility fees. Cal. Health and Safety Code § 51451.5. Since the payment of a school facility fee is reasonably germane to providing funds for school relief, more likely than not, there is no violation of the single subject rule.

V. Public Policy Considerations

 

A. Proponents

 

Proponents of Proposition 47 view it as a wise and urgently needed investment in our schools, our students and California's future. Hertzberg and Leonard bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/news/opinion/3154730.htm>. Because the schools are aging, many schools are in need of basic repairs and routine maintenance. Id. Proponents include the California Teachers Association, California State PTA, California Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters of California, and the California Taxpayers' Association. California Secretary of State asp?id=225&sID=3>.

Proponents who backed Proposition 1A will likely contend that Proposition 47 will build new schools and repair old ones without raising taxes or hurting other public services. California Secretary of State, Vote 98, Class Size Reduction Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act Of 1998, Argument In Favor of Proposition 1A (accessed July 1, 2002). Proposition 47 will be used to build new schools, reduce class size, repair and upgrade older classrooms, construct laboratories and other facilities, wire for technology, and help make our schools earthquake safe. Id. Money cannot be used for any other purpose. Id.

California classrooms are already the most overcrowded in the nation. Id. Without Proposition 47, there would not be enough classrooms to meet this demand. Id. Children in over-crowded classrooms cannot learn to read as well as children in smaller classes. Id. More important, elementary enrollments are expected to grow through 2006, which means that high school populations will continue to grow. Id. Proposition 47 will reduce classroom overcrowding so teachers can spend more quality time teaching in smaller classes where children learn. Id.

Since the passage of Proposition 1A in 1998, the authorized funds have been put to their intended use. However, according to the California Senate Rules Committee, that money was determined to be exhausted by mid-2002. Cal. Sen. Rules. Comm., Analysis of AB 16, at 2. School projects throughout the state are on hold because there exists a lack of state funding. California School Boards Association stories/april02/top story4 24 2.htm>. Passage of Proposition 47 would be an extension of the existing Proposition 1A facilities program and would allow school districts to immediately start work on these projects. California School Boards Association .

 

B. Opponents

 

Opponents argue that Proposition 1A was $9.2 billion and by far the largest educational bond in history. California Secretary of State, Vote 98, Class Size Reduction Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act Of 1998, Argument Against Proposition 1A (accessed July 1, 2002). Proposition 47 of 2002 will surpass the largest educational bond by about 1.5 times with a $13.05 billion bond seeking voter approval in November 2002.

Opponents include the California Taxpayer Coalition, which consist of about 30 taxpayer organizations from various parts of California, oppose Proposition 47 because California has too much debt on the books. California Secretary of State guide.ss.ca.gov/propositions2.asp?id=225&sID=3>. California's deficit is $23.6 billion and opponents will claim that the addition of more bonds creating a huge debt for the state will burden future generations in paying off these bonds for many years to come. Telephone interview with Stephen Archer, Chief of Staff, California Assemblymember Phil Wyman (June 17, 2002). The state has bonded out and has more bonds that it can handle with responsibility. Id.

Additionally, opponents argue there exists an inequity in the distribution of the money to school districts. Jim Sanders . The school bond provides for large urban areas to receive a disproportionate amount compared to suburban and rural schools. E-mail from Kerry Yoshida (June 28, 2002). For example, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) would get a big chunk of the money. Id. LAUSD houses about 12 percent of the state's students but would qualify for about 41 percent of the $4.1 billion targeted for overcrowded schools. Jim Sanders . Also, LAUSD is eligible for 24% of new construction funds. California Secretary of State propositions2.asp?id=225&sID=3>. LAUSD would receive enough funds to meet 115% of its needs, while many other needy districts would have to fight just to meet part of their needs. E-mail from Kerry Yoshida (June 28, 2002). Opponents claim that Los Angeles would swallow too much of the money -- to the detriment of suburban or rural communities. Jim Sanders 2056862p2348560c.html>. Opponents maintain that it is important to remember that every school district up and down the State must contend with these pressing issues, not just large school districts. E-mail from Kerry Yoshida.

VI. Conclusion

In November 2002, voters will decide whether to enact Proposition 47, the Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2002. Proposition 47 would provide aid to school districts, county superintendents of schools, county boards of education, and higher public educational institutions to modernize educational facilities. Cal. Assembly 16, 2001-2002 Reg. Sess. 29. It would authorize the sale and issuance of state general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $13.05 billion. Id. at 2. Public policy considerations deserve the attention of the voter such as the increase in the state's annual debt and the contention that bonds are a form of taxes. Additionally, the contention in the inequity of the distribution of the money, resulting in the Los Angeles Unified School District getting more money than suburban and rural communities is worthy of the voter's interest. If voters approve Proposition 47 in November, those projects already approved by the Office of Public School Construction and the State Allocation Board will be the first to receive funding. California State Senate Republican Caucus .

Many schools have placed the needs of their facilities on hold because there is a currently a lack of funding. Id. Proposition 47 will enable modernization and construction for schools in dire need of improvement. Id. Schools should begin lining up early for project and fund approval. Id. Since much of the 2002 bond money has already been marked for previously approved projects, school districts with projects in mind should submit applications as soon as possible to get what money may still be available from either Proposition 47 or another school bond in 2004. Id.

Regardless of whether the voters approve Proposition 47 this November, voters will have a chance at approving another school bond in March of 2004 in the amount of $12.3 billion. If voters approve Proposition 47, the education measure will shore up the schools in California and improve the quality of education for the future leaders of tomorrow.