Vintage chair in an abandoned schoolhouse

California Says 'No' To Deferred Maintenance Measure

  March 10, 2020

By Dan Hounsell

As many of the nation’s K-12 schools continue to crumble under the ever-increasing weight of deferred maintenance, California voters recently had the opportunity to provide desperately needed relief to the state’s public schools, which are operating under an estimated deferred maintenance burden of $70 billion. Voters refused.

Though some votes from Super Tuesday voting remain to be counted, voters appeared to have turned down Proposition 13, which would have raised $15 billion from general obligation bonds for preschools, K-12 schools, community colleges and state universities. The “no” vote led, 56 percent to 44 percent, with virtually all precincts reporting at least partial numbers, according to the California secretary of state.

The measure would have funded safety repairs, lead testing and remediation, and construction of new classrooms, among other school projects. $9 billion dollars would have gone to preschool through K-12 schools, with priority given to districts that were unable to raise money locally and served high shares of low-income students, English-language learners, and foster youth. The remaining $6 billion would have been split evenly among community colleges and the Cal State and University of California systems.

In the weeks leading up to the vote, a statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California showed that only a slim majority, 51 percent, of likely voters supported Proposition 13. Of those, fewer than half said the outcome was “very important” to them, which might have indicated a lack of urgency around the measure.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.


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