Proposition 55 Proposes to Fund Renovations on CSU Campuses and Maintain High Quality Education

Media Contact: Clara Potes-Fellow, cpotes-fellow@calstate.edu, (562) 951-4806.

(Feb. 13, 2004) -- On March 2, California voters will have the opportunity to consider Proposition 55, the 2004 education bond measure designed to fund construction and repairs at public schools, community colleges, and the California State University and University of California systems.

Proposition 55 is the second part of a $25.3 billion statewide bond package to repair, upgrade and build new schools. The first half of the package, Proposition 47, approved by 59 percent of the voters in November 2002, provided $13.05 billion. The second half, on the March 2 ballot, would provide $12.3 billion.

The measure, which requires a simple majority to pass, would authorize the sale of statewide general obligation bonds to fund repairs and new construction of classrooms and laboratories, earthquake retrofits and technology upgrades. Repayment of the bonds is guaranteed by the state of California and will be completed over 30 years.

The majority of the funds raised by Proposition 55 —$10 billion— will be distributed among K-12 public schools. The California State University and the University of California each will receive $690 million, and the California Community Colleges will receive $920 million.

At the California State University, the proposition would provide almost 20 percent of CSU’s five-year capital needs. CSU campuses would receive funding for 200 new classrooms, 38 new laboratories, and 657 faculty offices and library renovations. Trustees of the California State University endorsed the bond through a resolution approved in May 2003.

“Sixty percent of CSU’s facilities are over 30 years old and need renovation,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “Proposition 55 would refurbish many of this buildings and upgrade them to meet earthquake safety requirements.”

The state of California uses general obligation bonds to finance major capital outlay projects such as roads, educational facilities, prisons, parks, water projects and office buildings. The CSU, historically, has relied on voter-approved general obligation bonds to pay for most of its capital construction projects.

If approved, funds from Proposition 55 will be strictly monitored by annual audits to ensure appropriate use and accountability. Bond money cannot be used for salaries or other administrative expenses.

Although there is no organized campaign against Proposition 55, opponents have filed statements against the measure with the Secretary of State. Opponents recognize the need to fund education projects but argue that indebtedness is not the right way to fund classroom construction. To see arguments for and against Proposition 55, please click here.

Also available is a campus-by-campus list of projects to be built at the CSU.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 409,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See www.calstate.edu

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Last Updated: February 13, 2004

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