Proposition 51- A $9 billion school bond could affect Saddleback College

With Prop. 51, updates like fixing this buildings sewage issues would be resolved. (Meaghan Corkill/Life Editor)

With Prop. 51, updates like fixing this buildings sewage issues would be resolved. (Meaghan Corkill/Life Editor)

It’s almost November 8-voting day. Not only do people have to vote for our next U.S. president, but as local Californians, we must make decisions about our states. A.K.A-voting for propositions.

The propositions this election period are very important for the state of California and one specifically may affect Saddleback College.

Prop. 51 is an education bond for $9 billion that would be issued into a 2016 State School Facilities Fund and a 2016 California Community College Capital Outlay Bond Fund if voters approve Prop 51. Proceeds will go to the following:

  • $3 billion for the construction of new school facilities;
  • $500 million for providing school facilities for charter schools;
  • $3 billion for the modernization of school facilities;
  • $500 million for providing facilities for career technical education programs; and
  • $2 billion for acquiring, constructing, renovating, and equipping community college facilities.

The fiscal impact statement is said to be state costs of about $17.6 billion to pay off both the principal ($9 billion) and interest ($8.6 billion) on the bonds. Payments of about $500 million per year for 35 years. Yes on Proposition 51- Californians for Quality Schools is leading the campaign in support of Prop. 51. The campaign has raised over $11 million dollars and the opposing side, including California Gov. Jerry Brown, has raised zero.

With no campaign contributions for the opposing side, the official political action committee was also terminated on June 27, 2016. The Yes on Prop. 51 campaign also states that upgrading community college campuses can increase the chance of affordable college for students.  

Jonathan Lightman, executive director of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges is quoted in the California Voter’s Guide supporting Prop 51.

“By upgrading and repairing our community college facilities, we can increase access to quality, affordable higher education for all Californians, Our community colleges contribute to the economic and social strength of local communities throughout the state, and help college students avoid thousands of dollars in debt,” Lightman said. “We need to show our support to California’s students.” 

However, opposing views think that this bond is morally wrong, because the majority of the money will go to those schools first in line. That being said, most of the wealthier communities have had dedicated staff to fill out paperwork and will shut out poorer districts that need help most.

“I am against the developers’ $9-billion bond… [it] squanders money that would be far better spent in low-income communities,” Gov. Brown told the L.A. Times last February.

Some feel that this new Prop encourages improper spending in school districts and could possibly create more problems then benefits.

“Rather than forcing school districts into looking at less-expensive and more targeted ways to place much-needed investment into our schools, continuing to approve bond measures only encourages greater public indebtedness,” said the Orange County Register Editorial Board.