October 26, 1998 Vol. III, No. 5

CSUN Slated for $12.5 Million Under State Bond Measure

Prop. 1A on the Nov. 3 Ballot Would Fund K-12 and Higher Education Facilities Projects

Cal State Northridge can expect about $12.5 million to upgrade campus technology and merge its two corporation yards if state voters next week approve a $9.2 billion bond measure to fund public school facilities, campus officials said.

Proposition 1A on the Tuesday, Nov. 3 ballot would allocate $6.7 billion toward K-12 public schools and $2.5 billion toward the state's public higher education systems during the coming four years. The Cal State system would get roughly one-third, or $832 million, of the higher education portion.

"This bond is absolutely essential to maintaining and improving the quality of education in California," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "Now we have to make sure California voters realize how critical this bond is to their and their children's future," the chancellor added.

Joining the CSU Board of Trustees, CSUN's Alumni Association Board of Directors last week voted to unanimously endorse the bond measure, noting that public education in the state is "vastly in need of funds" to build new facilities, renovate existing ones and keep pace with technology.

Under the measure, the state would issue bonds to fund the various school projects during the coming four years, and then repay the debt out of state general fund revenues, typically during a 25-year period. Thus the measure would not result in any direct tax increase to state residents.

For CSUN, the $5.8 million in expected technology funds would help expand access to data, voice and video connections in existing state buildings across the campus during 2000-2001, said Mark Crase, the university's assistant chief information officer.

The funding, in particular, would bring campus computer network access to classrooms, labs and other areas that now lack them. The CSUN piece would be part of a broader $170 million Cal State systemwide technology initiative, which at this point only could be funded if the bond measure passes.

The other CSUN piece of the bond measure would be a nearly $6.7 million corporation yard project. Campus planners said the project would involve redeveloping the existing main yard area near the Physical Plant Management offices and clearing the current south yard near the University Student Union.

"The idea is to consolidate those operations," said Tom Tindall, CSUN's director of facilities planning. Tindall said clearing the south yard would improve access to the student union and Performing Arts Center, while the new and improved facilities near the current PPM offices would streamline operations.

That project, slated for construction in 1999-2000 if the bond measure passes, also could significantly improve the appearance of the campus perimeter along the south side of Halsted Street near Etiwanda Avenue where the current yard is located, including adding landscaping and street curbs and gutters.

In a recent article, the Los Angeles Times reported that the state bond measure has received nearly unanimous support from California's major political leaders, business groups, labor organizations and even the California Taxpayers Association, which often opposes spending measures.

For K-12 schools, the measure would provide at least $2.9 billion for new facilities, with local districts required to pay half with local funds; at least $2.1 billion for modernizing existing facilities, with a required 20 percent local match; and up to $700 million for facilities to support reduced class sizes.

Proponents have argued the measure is critical to dealing with the state's 60 percent of public schools that are more than 30 years old and in dire need of improvements, classrooms that are among the most overcrowded in the nation, and future enrollment growth for both K-12 and higher education.

Local Republican state Assemblyman Tom McClintock, one of several signers of the ballot argument opposing the measure, called bond financing the most expensive way to pay for school projects and said the state instead should have used part of its budget surplus for the work.

-John Chandler


October 26, 1998

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