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$15 billion bond measure for California public schools will be on Tuesday's ballot

People can vote on this bond next Tuesday, March 3rd — also known as Super Tuesday.

Posted: Feb 27, 2020 5:55 PM
Updated: Feb 27, 2020 6:26 PM

WEED, Calif. -- If it passes next week, California bond measure Proposition 13 would help fund three new classrooms at Butteville Elementary School in Weed. 

Super Tuesday is just five days away. Though the students at Butteville can't vote, the outcome will have a significant impact them. A school bond measure could bring millions of dollars to schools in Siskiyou County. Superintendent Len Foreman says classrooms like Mr. Lewis' at Butteville needs to be replaced.

"Studies have shown a proper learning environment helps kids learn," said Foreman.

Three classrooms at the school need to be completely rebuilt, the superintendent says.

"They've outlived their usefulness, plus they are expensive to maintain and at this point we need to provide an excellent learning environment," said Foreman.

The measure's name has caused some confusion, but this proposition is not the same as California's Proposition 13 from 1978. This bond will help students in California from kindergarten through college.

Money from the bond would go toward removing mold and asbestos, and providing cleaner drinking water. Funding will also go towards new construction, modernization, and facilities for career technical education programs.

"Nobody likes taxes and I think that will be the biggest issue for this proposition in California," said Foreman.

Those who oppose the bond are worried about the price tag. Some believe it will be too much money to pay back in the next 35 years.  It is estimated to cost the state $740 million each year to pay it back, taken from California's general fund.

"The state selling bonds is unlike a local school bond. It will not have an impact on local property taxes," said Foreman. He believes it's a great alternative for students and the community.

If passed, Proposition 13 would authorize the state to sell $15 billion in general bonds to fund different school projects, including for community and state colleges. The state would take that $740 million from the general fund toward paying the bonds down each year, over the course of about 35 years. The bonds would also cost an estimated $11 billion in interest accumulated over time.

The California Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that paying down the bonds would account for about one-half of one percent of the state's current budget.

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