From the Executive Director

Sept. 21, 2017

As student advocates, we know that providing a first class education for California’s 6.2 million public school students goes beyond strong curriculum and good teachers.

To ensure a healthy and safe learning environment with the cutting-edge technology needed to prepare students for college and career, we have to push for future-based facilities.

Voters approved Proposition 51 in November, providing a $9 billion facilities bond for K-Community College schools. The expectation from the approval was communities would receive funds to build and renovate their local schools.

As of now, Gov. Brown has committed to selling only $400 million at the upcoming fall bond sale. That equals about 4 percent of those bonds, and the financial impact on districts could be colossal as construction costs and interest rates escalate over time.

ACSA anticipates approximately a $2 billion backlog in projects identified for modernization and new construction due to the lack of bond funds available from the state for the past 10 years.

I am proud to see ACSA taking a leadership role in pushing Gov. Brown to take appropriate actions regarding our facilities and commitment to the voters’ mandate. Last month, ACSA President Lisa Gonzales joined other education leaders in a lobbying effort to move the governor. She believes the facilities bond is about more than adding technology. Some school campuses are more than 50 years old, requiring new air conditioning units or larger cafeterias to accommodate more students.

Our voice at the political table has a very large impact, bigger than we have ever had. The credit for that goes to our members and the ACSA Governmental Relations team who have worked tirelessly to move the message of education leaders and advocate on behalf of students.

Because of their hard work, ACSA has been approached to help push the Brown administration for a stronger commitment to funding this bond. With the backing of the voters, I believe we have a unique opportunity to shape the future of our students.

I encourage you to volunteer to assist in moving the message locally about why a larger bond should be sold in the spring. We have to let our communities know that it isn’t about seeking more money or a new bond. It’s about securing the funds for the bond they have already passed.

Please contact Laura Preston at lpreston@acsa.org if you can help us in your community.

- Wesley Smith

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