California Proposition 13, or Prop. 13, votes will be counted March 3. If passed, it would authorize the state to sell $15 billion in general obligation bonds in order to improve school and college facilities.
Of the total $15 billion, $9 billion would be allocated toward renovating public schools and funding charter schools and career technical education facilities. Higher education facilities, including UC system campuses, would receive $6 billion.
“Cal Berkeley Democrats unanimously endorsed Proposition 13,” said Cal Berkeley Democrats president Sarah Abdeshahian in an email. “The deferred maintenance needs at our public schools, including our own campus, continue to grow and it is imperative that we address this crisis by ensuring our schools buildings are healthy, safe, and conducive to learning.”
Prop. 13 would allow California public schools to issue more local bonds in order to upgrade emergency facilities, remove hazardous materials from classrooms, repair old school buildings and replace deteriorating water pipes, according to the Californians for Safe Schools and Healthy Learning website.
A larger share of the funding will be given to districts that have a harder time raising funds and accommodate a higher proportion of low-income students, foster youth and English learners, according to the proposition.
The proposition would require the California State University and UC systems to develop five-year plans to expand affordable housing options and prioritize projects concerning “life-safety” and shortcomings of existing amenities.
The extent of the measure’s effect on university facilities would vary based upon development decisions and whether or not additional university bonds are provided, according to the proposition.
“This initiative directly impacts the students at this campus,” Abdeshahian said in the email. “It is important that UC students organize around this proposition because we deserve safe facilities on campus.”
Over the next 35 years, the state will have to pay an additional $11 billion for the bond’s interest, according to the proposition.
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has launched an opposition campaign on the grounds that Prop. 13 would add to California’s debt and therefore increase local property taxes, according to its website. The campaign differentiates California’s 2020 Prop. 13 from California’s 1978 Prop. 13, which decreased property taxes.
The website added that giving priority to districts using Project Labor Agreements “needlessly” increases the costs of facility projects and inefficiently uses taxpayers’ dollars.
“Prop. 13 doesn’t address all of the UC’s deferred maintenance and seismic retrofitting need, but it’s a great start when it comes to addressing this serious issue on UC campuses,” said ASUC External Affairs Vice President Varsha Sarveshwar in an email. “By investing in campus infrastructure, Prop. 13 will make our campuses safer and more prepared for future generations of students.”