SACRAMENTO -- Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill Monday approving the largest school construction bond in California history.
The bill, Assembly Bill 48, aims to bring California’s public schools from the bottom of the ranks to the top in the nation by approving a measure that can allocate $15 billion to public schools across the state, from pre-kindergarten all the way up to college.
Newsom got a little help putting pen to paper from some of the students at Ethel Baker Elementary as he signed and the students dated AB 48.
"This is an historic moment. This is an historic bond in the state of California,” said Newsom
The signed bill approves a measure that will appear on the March 2020 ballot.
“Two billion dollars for the community college system. Two for the CSU. Two for the UC,” Newsom said.
But the majority of the funding, $9 billion, will go to K-12 schools, specifically to districts that need upgrades the most.
"Not just the districts that have the resources to be front and center in these debates. It’s those that need to be front and center, that need the support, that are going to be the lion's share beneficiaries of this bond," the governor said.
A big focus for that funding is upgrading existing facilities to make them safer and to get rid of hazards in older schools, like lead, asbestos and mold.
"You can’t look in the eyes of these kids and make an argument that the facilities that so many of them are being educated in are appropriate,” Newsom said.
The bond would also help build more career and technical education facilities in high schools in the hopes of developing a stronger workforce and boosting the economy.
The governor said he’s confident Californians will back the ballot measure next year and approve more bond money for schools than ever before.
"Asking the voters, yet again, to do what they historically have always done, and that is to embrace our children, embrace their fate and future, and do more to do justice to the cause of public education in the state of California," he said.