For public school districts and community college districts general obligation bonds provide a potential funding source for new facilities, classroom and building renovations and modernizations and a means of funding 21st Century learning technology infrastructure and tools.

Proposition 39, and its related legislation, provide that a Proposition 39 (55% favorable vote) General Obligation bond election may be held only on certain specified election dates, including November of even-numbered years. The November Statewide election date in 2022 is November 8, 2022.

Under the statutory requirements, a school district or community college district must act to call a Proposition 39 bond election and transmit the resolution calling that bond election to the applicable County Registrar of Voters at least 88 days prior to the scheduled election date. Also due at least 88 days prior to the election is a tax rate statement setting forth the estimates of tax rates per each $100 of assessed valuation within the jurisdiction which will vote on the bond measure.

For the November 8, 2022 Statewide election date, the tax rate statement and resolution would need to be received by the County Registrar of Voters on or before August 12, 2022.

Other statutory requirements with respect to a general obligation bond election following the resolution calling the election include the submission of arguments for or against the general obligation bond measure, if any, together with required verification statements. These are to be submitted to the County Clerk or Registrar of Voters on a date set by such officials, typically in the weeks following the deadline for the resolution calling the election. The deadline for the submission of arguments triggers the beginning of a ten-day public examination and contest period immediately thereafter, during which voters may seek a writ of mandate or an injunction requiring the amendment or deletion of all or a portion of the election materials. An impartial analysis of a bond measure must also be prepared by County Counsel or the school district’s bond counsel for inclusion in the ballot pamphlet, and such analysis due on a date determined by the Clerk or Registrar, typically the same date as the deadline for the submission of arguments.

School districts and community college districts that may want to consider calling a general obligation bond election at the November 2022 date should conduct preliminary reviews and preparation of documents to ensure timely compliance with the statutes. An election consultant can help a school district evaluate whether the other measures on the applicable local ballot might help or hurt their general obligation bond measure’s potential for success.

Following the election date, the Registrar of Voters will canvass the election returns and officially certify results of the bond election to the school district, after which the school district governing board adopts a resolution certifying such results. In the case of a successful general obligation bond measure, this action by the school district board then triggers a sixty-day period during which a citizen’s oversight committee is formed and initial members appointed, in accordance with the constitutional and statutory accountability requirements relating to Proposition 39 general obligation bond measures.