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Proposition 55 Proposes to Fund New Building and Needed Renovations

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San Bernardino

On March 2, California voters will have the opportunity to consider Proposition 55, the 2004 education bond measure designed to fund $12.3 billion in construction and repairs at public schools, community colleges, and the California State University and University of California systems.

For Cal State San Bernardino, Proposition 55 would provide $48,696,000 for a state-of-the-art College of Education building, and help fund the purchase of equipment for the new Science Annex building, the Science building and for the second building of the university's Palm Desert Campus.

Proposition 55, which requires a simple majority to pass, would authorize the sale of statewide general obligation bonds to fund repairs and new construction of classrooms and laboratories, earthquake retrofits and technology upgrades. Repayment of the bonds is guaranteed by the state of California and will be completed over 30 years.

The California State University and the University of California each would receive $690 million FROM the passage of Proposition 55, and the California Community Colleges would receive $920 million. The majority of the funds raised - $10 billion - would be distributed among public schools serving kindergarten through 12th grade.

At the California State University, campuses would receive funding for 200 new classrooms, 38 new laboratories, and 657 faculty offices and library renovations. Trustees of the California State University endorsed the bond through a resolution approved in May 2003.

"Sixty percent of CSU's facilities are more than 30 years old and need renovation," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "Proposition 55 would refurbish many of these buildings and upgrade them to meet earthquake safety requirements."

For Cal State San Bernardino, the College of Education building would be the first for the college, which consistently ranks among the top tier in the 23-campus CSU system in providing credentialed teachers. The College of Education now shares space across campus with the university's four other colleges. It is crucial there be enough lecture and lab space and faculty offices to fulfill the CSU's primary responsibility of preparing the state's teachers.

Proposition 55 is the second part of a $25.3 billion statewide bond package to repair, upgrade and build new schools. The first half of the package, Proposition 47, approved by 59 percent of the voters in November 2002, provided $13.05 billion.

Proposition 55 also would provide $1,480,000 in equipment for the university's Science Building, which is being renovated with funding provided FROM the passage of Proposition 47 in 2002. The measure would also provide $2,556,000 in equipment for the new Science Annex building and $1,382,000 in equipment for the second building of the university's Palm Desert Campus. The building is currently under construction.

The state of California uses general obligation bonds to finance major capital outlay projects such as roads, educational facilities, prisons, parks, water projects and office buildings. The CSU, historically, has relied on voter-approved general obligation bonds to pay for most of its capital construction projects.

If approved, funds FROM Proposition 55 will be strictly monitored by annual audits to ensure appropriate use and accountability. Bond money cannot be used for salaries or other administrative expenses.

Although there is no organized campaign against Proposition 55, opponents have filed statements against the measure with the Secretary of State. Opponents recognize the need to fund education projects but argue that indebtedness is not the right way to fund classroom construction.

They argue that the state already has $73 billion in bond obligations, and there is also a $15 billion bond measure (Proposition 57) on the March ballot. To see arguments for and against Proposition 55, visit the state official voter information guide at http://www.voterguide.ss.ca.gov/propositions/prop55-arguments.html. To see a CSU campus-by-campus list of projects visit http://www.calstate.edu/pa/news/2004/prop55.shtml.

California State University, San Bernardino serves the Riverside-San Bernardino counties of Southern California. Founded in 1965, the campus offers more than 70 traditional baccalaureate and master's degree programs along with a wide variety of education credential and certificate programs to a student body of 17,000.

To help meet the needs of its enormous service area throughout the vast Inland Empire, the university established the branch campus in Palm Desert that serves more than 1,000 students in the desert communities of the Coachella Valley.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 409,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces.

Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See www.calstate.edu.

For more information, contact Cal State San Bernardino's public affairs office at (909) 880-5007.

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