California ballot measure brings fairness to school bonds. It deserves your vote in March

In 2016, voters passed $9 billion in school and community college bonds under Proposition 51, but not with the support of The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board.

“The current system allocates money on a first-come, first-served basis, which rewards districts with sophisticated lobby arms, not necessarily districts that have the most need,” the board wrote, opposing the measure.

Prop. 51 funding is mostly committed, and school district applications are “nearly in excess” of remaining funds, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office. Districts that didn’t have the resources to apply faster are out of luck.

Prop. 13 – not related to the historic property tax law of the same name passed in the 1970s – would right the balance. It gives top priority to projects that impact health and safety. Next would be applications from districts facing financial hardship. Third priority would go to projects that test for or mitigate lead in school water.

The March ballot measure authorizes $15 billion bonds for preschool through university capital projects.

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