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Prop 13 calls for $15 billion but San Luis Coastal Unified School District may not receive much

Posted at 7:08 AM, Feb 10, 2020

California voters casting ballots this Super Tuesday must decide whether to support a $15 billion proposition to fund aging California schools.

Proposition 13, the only statewide measure on the March 3rd ticket, would help build, repair and modernize schools by providing matching funds.

There has been some confusion among voters over the issue because it bears the same proposition number as a 1978 initiative, also referred to as the People's Initiative to Limit Property Taxation.

While supporters of the proposition call it an investment in education, opponents are concerned about the amount of interest generated over the 35-year commitment.

Much of the bond money, about $9 billion dollars, would be designated for K through 12 schools. The remainder would be set aside for higher education.

Priority would be given to schools with health and safety concerns, including earthquake risks and toxic mold and asbestos issues.

But San Luis Coastal Unified School District is not as likely to receive modernization funds as it is dollars for career technical education.

"If there was one pool of funds that was really a potential for us to receive, that would be the main funding we'd receive through Prop 13," Ryan Pinkerton, the San Luis Coastal Unified School District Assistant Super. of Business Services, said. "We'll get in line for modernization funds but sometimes we don't receive those until the state actually sells the bonds which could be five or six years from now."

To receive the matching funds, school districts would have to cover at least 60 percent of modernization projects and 50 percent of new construction.

The San Luis Obispo County Assessor said Prop 13 would draw from state generated revenues rather than property tax increases.

Pinkerton said the district counts more on local bond measures than sometimes unreliable state proposition dollars.

"We are renovating both of our comprehensive high schools -- Morro Bay and SLO High -- so there is money for career technical education, modernization for buildings there," Pinkerton said. "So there's the potential that -- we've put in for some of those grants. This would provide the funding for us to actually receive that should they make it through."

Thanks to local Measure D, passed in 2014, the district is making progress on renovations to Morro Bay and SLO High Schools.

Pinkerton said Baywood Elementary and Los Osos Middle Schools are the next priority.