Americans considered several significant state and local ballot initiatives this year that would provide public financing for K-12, higher education, and other education facility construction projects. AGC and many of its Chapters across the nation generally support increased construction investment in education facilities. The public approved many of these school construction measures, the details of some of which you can find below.
- The state of California placed 47 measures on the ballot pertaining to school construction among counties across the state. Pending confirmation on several of the measures, the initiatives total up to $3.5 billion in bonds for expansion, safety improvements, roof repairs, mold removal and upgrades for buildings in these school districts.
- In August, the Denver Public Schools Board of Education voted to adopt a bond proposal for the November ballot. By nearly 75%, voters passed the $795 million bond proposal that provides funding to build and maintain schools along with general improvements such as the installation of central air conditioning.
- Maine voters authorized $15 million in general obligation bonds for the ConnectME authority to provide funding for high-speed internet infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas by a 51% margin.
- In Baltimore, voters approved the authorization of $38 million for the acquisition of land or property for new school buildings and athletic facilities along with improvements or construction to equip existing structures with what is necessary.
- Voters in New Mexico approved a bond package that issues $156.3 million for public higher education institutions, $30 million to be used for a new nursing program building at the University of New Mexico, and native tribal schools. The package also includes $9.7 million in bonds for public libraries.
- Pending final confirmation, the Dallas Independent School District, which has over 150,000 current students, will authorize an initiative for up to $3.3 million to fund the construction and equipment for school buildings, an increase in property taxes to repay the debt.
- Similar to the Dallas Independent School District, the Corpus Christi Independent School District authorized up to $136.2M for the purchase, construction, renovation and equipping of school buildings and to increase property taxes to repay the debt. The San Antonio Independent School District also issued $1.21B in bonds to fund the construction, renovation and acquisition of school buildings and levy property taxes necessary to repay the debt.
The approval of these initiatives is good news. However, AGC and many of its Chapters nationwide are committed to advocating for further investment in sorely needed education facility construction projects. According to the National Center for Education and Statistics (NCES), the average age of a public school building is estimated to be over 40 years old and the unmet need for school construction and renovation is estimated to be $127 billion or $2.2 million per school.