Next Tuesday, Nov. 8, voters across the state will be confronted with numerous propositions from a wide array of public interest groups. Of particular importance to our local school district, Madera Unified, are two of these propositions — 51 and 55. While Proposition 55 has received much coverage in the media, less is known about Proposition 51. It is critical that voters understand the importance of funding for school facilities.
Proposition 51 is the School Facilities Bond, and authorizes $9 billion for the construction of school facilities. The last school facilities bond was authorized in 2006, and the available funds for public school construction have been exhausted. Proposition 51 authorizes $6 billion in funding for K-12 public schools, with an additional $2 billion for Community Colleges and $1 billion to be split between Career Technical Education and Charter Schools. The passage of this bond would be a huge win for the children of California.
At the local level, Proposition 51 would provide state matching funds for two of our school projects — the Virginia Lee Rose Elementary School, which will open in August 2017, and the new high school, which will open in August 2019. If Proposition 51 passes, Madera Unified will be eligible for approximately $50 million in matching funds, enabling us to avoid costly long-term financing.
Through the conservative fiscal practices to which this school board has adhered, we anticipate that, by combining our local bond funds, state matching funds, and our own district building fund savings, both schools will open paid for. These new schools will enhance property values, stimulate economic growth, and lessen overcrowding in our current classrooms.
Madera Unified continues to grow, with more than 200 new students just this year. Additional enrollment will require new schools. My commitment to the community of Madera is to be a tireless advocate for the best educational programs for our students. Proposition 51 provides voters an opportunity to safeguard the quality of public school education in California. I strongly urge you to vote Yes on Proposition 51.
— Edward C. González
Madera Unified School District