Prop 55 Benefits Education

The March 2 election has a bond proposal on the ballot that will, if passed, make a big difference in school facilities in Chico and across the state.

Proposition 55, the Kindergarten–University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2004, would provide $12.3 billion to repair and build facilities for K–12 schools, the community colleges, the CSU, and the UC.

Prop. 55 includes $1.8 million in potential funds for equipment—furniture, desks, chairs, and other materials—for CSU, Chico's new Student Services Center. Construction money for the center, a four-story, roughly 120,000-square-foot building at Second and Ivy streets, was approved in Oct. 2002 as part of Proposition 47. The center will include the offices of admissions, financial aid, advising, and career planning and placement. Construction is slated to begin later this year and it will follow national standards for environmentally conscious, sustainable buildings.

The list of CSU projects that might benefit from Prop. 55 includes a $35.8 million replacement for CSU, Chico's Taylor Hall. Almost 40 years old, Taylor Hall is not large enough to house the instructional and faculty office needs for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. A planned three-story building includes faculty offices, classrooms, lecture and recital halls, and a recording studio.

Other potential Butte County benefits from the passage of Prop. 55 are extensive. Butte College would receive $7.6 million for a much-needed renovation of its library. Butte County K–12 schools would be eligible for $51.1 million in new construction and repairs.

Statewide, K–12 schools stand to gain $10 billion, including $2.4 billion for critically overcrowded schools, $2.2 billion to fix rundown and outdated schools, and $5.2 billion for construction of new schools. The community colleges would receive $920 million, the CSU $690 million, and the UC $690 million.

Joe Wills

Artist's rendering of Student Services Center