Voters must decide whether to increase school bonding capacity via $15 billion Prop 13

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — California’s infrastructure is under assault from the ravages of time, and it’s not just the state’s transportation infrastructure. Some of our schools, too, are beginning to crumble.

Seventy percent of California schools are more than a quarter century old, and 10% are 70 years old or more. It’s that reality that inspired the Legislature to place Proposition 13 on Tuesday’s ballot — a $15 billion bond for repair and renovation of aging schools and construction of new ones.

At the tiny, rural Maple School District, west of Shafter, they know all about campus health and safety needs.

Superintendent Julie Boesch says it took Maple School District six long years to get funding approved and construction started for improvements that are underway now. It might have taken half that time had Prop. 13 been in place now, she says.

But is Prop. 13 the right vehicle to do it? Critics like the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association say no — the state already has a $22 billion budget surplus. And the Kern County Taxpayers Association warns of another red flag. Michael Turnipseed, executive director of Kerntax, says Prop. 13 creates higher limits on bonding, which can cost school districts, and therefore taxpayers, a lot more in the end.

Maple School, like many small school districts in Kern County, has limited funding options, and Prop. 13 looks to school leaders there as the best possible option.

They’ll have a verdict in just a few days when the vote tabulation commences.

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