The University of California Board of Regents endorsed Senate Bill 28 (SB 28), the Public Preschool, K–12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2024, authored by State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda).
If approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the bill would place a $15.5 billion general obligation bond on the state ballot in 2024 to provide capital support for public education, from preschool to college.
Under the bill's provisions, the university would be allocated $2 billion, funds that would help it to enroll more California students, renovate teaching and research facilities, make needed seismic upgrades, and transition campuses to clean energy.
“Thirty percent of all UC space is more than 50 years old,” UC President Michael V. Drake said in urging the Board of Regents to endorse the bill. “If approved, the GO [general obligation] bond would represent the biggest capital investment in the University of California in nearly 20 years. It would allow us to modernize classrooms and labs, make urgent seismic upgrades, and serve even more California students. This would be a much-needed investment in the safety and success of our students, our campuses, and the state.”
UC campuses face significant fiscal challenges as they look to expand California student enrollment and renew aging facilities. UC's 2022-28 Capital Financial Plan, presented to the Board of Regents in Nov. 2022, identified $51 billion in unfunded capital needs for UC campuses and medical centers. A general obligation bond could help UC address those critical needs, UC leaders said.
“Capital investments, like those envisioned by SB 28, are core to the university's success as a driver of economic growth and innovation across the state and they are also essential for creating unparalleled educational opportunities for California students,” said UC Regent Janet Reilly, who chairs the Regent's Public Engagement and Development Committee. “Investing in UC's future pays dividends to all Californians.”
To appear on the ballot, general obligation bond bills, such as SB 28, must receive support from two-thirds of the state Legislature, and must then be signed by the governor. Once on the ballot, a simple majority of voters would decide whether to approve the bond.
If SB 28 were to win voter approval, it would be UC's first general obligation bond since 2006. The legislation would offer important funding for campus-by-campus renewal efforts, such as renovation of existing classroom and lab space and construction of urgently needed housing for both graduate and undergraduate students.
The University of California is committed to maintaining and building the necessary facilities for its students, faculty, staff and researchers to study, live and work, and for surrounding campus communities to thrive. The $2 billion provided under SB 28 would be a crucial down payment to addressing its capital needs, while working with local, state and federal governments to secure more community partnerships and funding support to benefit every student, UC leaders said.
General obligation Bonds (“GO Bonds”) are issued by the state to finance large capital projects such as construction, modernization, or renovation of educational facilities.
In 2006, the Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act (Proposition 1D) provided approximately $345 million per year for 2006-07 and 2007-08 to the university for the basic state-funded capital program. Prior to 2006, other bond acts were approved for UC in 2002 and 2004, Propositions 47 and 55, which provided the University with approximately $345 million per year for four years.
Learn more about how a general obligation bond could help UC meet its unmet capital needs: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/get-involved/capital-needs.