Written by Eduardo García, LCF Civic Engagement Fellow
On March 3, Latinos in California will be voting for their top choice for president. But another important item is on the ballot that Latinos must turn out to vote for: the future of our children’s education.
What is it the Schools and College Facilities Bond?
If approved this March, the School and College Facilities Bond (which will appear on the ballot as Proposition 13) would authorize $15 billion to renovate and modernize school and college facilities.
That includes $9 billion for preschool and K-12 schools, $4 billion for universities, and $2 billion for community colleges. To cover costs, the state would spend 740 million every year (including interest) over the next 35 years to make school facilities safer for students statewide.
The ballot initiative has received broad support from various organizations and individuals—from the California Federation of Teachers, to the state’s Parent Teachers Association, to Governor Gavin Newsom. They argue that repairing aging facilities can help ensure all California students get equal access to resources known to improve education outcomes. Taxpayer groups like the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, on the other hand, argue that the bond will divert state dollars from other needed services.
How would an initiative like this impact Latino students?
Latinos make up a significant percentage of California’s K-12 public school system—54% to be exact. They are also more likely to attend high poverty schools than other student group in the state. This means fewer resources for things like libraries and modern facilities that contribute to a high-quality learning environment, which can boost student achievement.
Latinos make up nearly half of the student population of the state’s 115 community colleges. At the CSU and UC’s, they make up 42 and 27 percent respectively. It is estimated that nearly 600 structures on California colleges, including classrooms, libraries, and research labs, have seismic deficiencies and need to be either retrofitted or replaced before a strong earthquake hits.
Does this ballot initiative have anything to do with Prop. 13, a ballot initiative that passed in 1978 that capped property taxes on homes, businesses, and farms?
No, passing the School and College Facilities Bond would not affect Prop. 13 (1978). It’s a coincidence they have the same number. That’s because every ten years, California repeats the cycle for numbering measures that appear on the ballot.
You can get more information about the Schools and College Facilities Bond in LCF’s 2020 Latino Voter Guide.
We’ll see you at the polls! And remember to register to vote!