Wilk measure improving oversight of school bonds clears Assembly policy committee

SACRAMENTO – Bond oversight legislation authored by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, has been given the thumps-up by the Assembly Education Committee.

Senate Bill 341 (SB 341) would improve public oversight of school facility bonds by allowing Bond Oversight Committee Members to serve up to twelve years on the Committee. Current law caps the term of service at six years.

“Each election cycle, hundreds of millions of dollars in local bonds are approved across California,” said Wilk. “It is imperative that voters are aware of the fiscal impact local bonds have on their property taxes. In an effort to provide accountability and transparency to this process, SB 341 would ensure the citizen oversight committee overseeing our long-term debt, is comprised of experienced, qualified members so facilities are built on time and on budget.”

School facility bonds can be approved by a simple majority of voters rather than two-thirds approval required for other bonds. To compensate for the lower vote threshold, a number of oversight provisions exist, including the establishment of a bond oversight committee (BOC). The BOC consists of at least seven members including a taxpayer, PTA member, and senior representative. An annual financial and performance audit is also mandated, and the BOC is regularly required to report to the school district board.

SB 341 passed the Committee unanimously and is now headed to the full Assembly for consideration.