SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – Ahead of next week’s election, we’re taking a closer look at Prop 13.

That’s the school bond measure to help upgrade facilities on campuses across California.

Aside from the Democratic primary, the only other statewide issue on the ballot is Prop 13.

No, not the property tax measure approved in 1978 – The new Prop 13 would allow the state to borrow $15-billion in funds for school construction and upgrades across California.

“In this day and age there are students who are going to school in facilities that really aren’t up to par,” Nancy Chaires Espinoza, a Board Member at Elk Grove Unified School District, said.

“There are times and places where bond financing is appropriate, but the state is sitting on a 22 billion dollar surplus,” Jon Coupal, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association President, said.

With early voting underway and the election less than a week away, the debate is intensifying on Prop 13.

The $15-billion bond measure would provide K-12 facilities $9-billion for safety and modernization upgrades with $6-billion for California college campuses.

Supporters say Prop 13 prioritizes cleaning up hazardous materials, like asbestos and mold, along with the testing and treating of lead in water.

Although the bond is $15 billion, analysts say the state will likely end up paying another $11-billion in interest totaling $26-billion.

Prop 13 itself doesn’t raise taxes itself but critics are concerned higher taxes at the local level could be one of the effects if passed.

“In order to tap into that state money, local school districts have to propose their own bonds, and those are paid exclusively by property owners including homeowners. At the state level we’re going into massive debt, at the local level we’re exposing homeowners to higher property taxes,” Espinoza said.

“If and when locals choose to create a local bond, that would be separate from this, it would be in a different election, and people would decide whether they could have a local bond…we just want to make sure they have learning environments that are worthy of them and for college and career success going forward,” Coupal said.

Prop 13 needs a simple majority vote to pass a recent public policy institute poll shows 51% of likely voters would approve the measure. 

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