Governor Newsom Signs Historic Education Construction Bond, Prioritizing Projects that Protect Health and Safety of California Students

Bond will go before voters in March 2020

SACRAMENTO – Today, joined by students, teachers and education leaders at Ethel I. Baker Elementary School in Sacramento, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 48, the largest school construction bond in California’s history. The Governor’s signature places a $15 billion bond on the primary election ballot, which stands to benefit students in preschools, K-12 public schools, and institutions of higher education.

“This is a historic down payment for safer and healthier school buildings across every level of education, and something that will tangibly benefit millions of Californians for generations to come,” said Governor Newsom. “Safe school buildings are critical for all our students. California voters now have the power to equitably fund school construction projects and help ensure that young Californians can go to school in a safe building.”

“When it comes to safe facilities, too many California schools would get grades that parents would ground their kids for. California students deserve safe, modern schools that are fire and earthquake resistant and free from mold, asbestos, and lead. Not only does AB 48 help make that happen, but for the first time in years, we include bond funding for infrastructure needs on our higher education campuses as well,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins. “AB 48 recognizes how vital vocational education is for our economy by improving training facilities, and it respects taxpayers by providing annual independent audits and public hearings on how these investments are being spent.”

“California’s classrooms, from elementary schools to universities, are long overdue for much-needed safety improvements,” added Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “The Legislature and the Governor have now shown our support for fixing facilities. The next step is for the voters to add their voices.”

AB 48 was co-authored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell and Senator Steve Glazer. It was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support during this year’s legislative session.

“School facilities set the tone for the school day. Students cannot succeed if their schools are not clean and safe,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell. “This bill will rehabilitate our classrooms and provide funds for career-technical-education facilities to ensure our high school graduates are prepared for jobs in the modern economy. AB 48 is about investing in our students’ and California’s future.”

“Our education system is our most important responsibility and gives each student the opportunity to thrive,” said Senator Glazer. “These bond funds will shore up deteriorating classrooms and provide vital seismic and other safety fixes at schools and universities in every part of California.”

With voter approval, AB 48 will strengthen and upgrade school buildings throughout California—in rural, urban and suburban communities and across every level of education. Funding will be highest for districts that have the greatest needs. The bond will prioritize projects to address mold, remove lead from fixtures, and to make buildings safer in the case of earthquakes. Districts facing severe overcrowding will also be prioritized.

AB 48 includes robust independent audits and accountability measures to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent on schools and schoolchildren, not on administrative red tape.

The AB 48 funding will be allocated as follows:

  • $9 billion for preschool to K-12

-$5.2 billion for modernizing schools

-$2.8 billion for new construction

-$500 million for career technical education facilities

-$500 million for charter schools

  • $2 billion for community colleges
  • $2 billion for the California State University
  • $2 billion for the University of California

The primary election is scheduled to take place on March 3, 2020.