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State Assembly passes school facilities bond

If also OKd by State Senate, $9 billion general obligation bond would go to voters for approval

The California State Assembly has passed a bill that will place a school facilities bond on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Assembly Bill 2235 --

Authored by Assemblymembers Joan Buchanan (D- Alamo) and Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills), the bill authorizes a $9 billion general obligation bond that, if approved by voters, will provide $6 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of K-12 schools and $3 billion for higher education facilities.

"The last bond passed in 2006," said Buchanan. whose disstrict includes Pleasanton.

"Funds for the construction and modernization of K-12 and higher education institutions have been depleted for several years, jeopardizing the completion of many local projects," she explained. "Passing a state bond will ensure that students attend safe and adequate facilities, positively impacting student achievement."

State bond funds for K-12 facilities are managed by the School Facility Program. The facility program requires a 50% local match for construction of new schools and 40% match for the modernization of schools.

State bond funds are matched more than 2 to 1 by local bond funds and developer fees. Local communities pass local bonds anticipating the state match.

"I spent a year reviewing the school facilities program, and it has proven to be one of the state's most successful partnerships," Hagman said.

"I am pleased that both parties recognize the critical need for a new bond to build and modernize educational facilities," he added. "The bond also has the added benefit of aiding our economic recovery by creating tens of thousands of jobs and controlling the once volatile costs imposed on the construction of new residential units to fund school construction."

The bills supporters included the California Chamber of Commerce, State Building and Construction Trades Council, California State PTA, California Building Industry Association, and over 30 school districts and county offices of education and over 25 community colleges and districts.

AB 2235 will now move to the California State Senate.

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