The primary impact of Proposition 39 was to reduce the threshold required to pass localCalifornia school district bond issues from a 2/3rds supermajority vote to a 55% supermajority vote.
Prior to the passage of Proposition 39, about 60% of local school bond ballot questions succeeded in getting the previously required 2/3rds vote. In the wake of its passage, about 75% of local school districts are passing with the 55% requirement.
On February 5, 2008, thirty-nine school districts, including BHUSD, asked for more funding. Thirty requests were approved by voters. Eighteen of the thirty that passed would have failed to gain approval before Proposition 39 (these eighteen got more than 55% but less than 67%). The eighteen that passed because of the 55% threshold that would not have passed with a 2/3 threshold added $2.3 billion in new spending.
The summary of the ballot measure prepared by the California Attorney General read:
- Authorizes bonds for repair, construction or replacement of school facilities, classrooms, if approved by 55% local vote for projects evaluated by schools, community college districts, county education offices for safety, class size, and information technology needs.
- Accountability requirements include annual performance and financial audits on use of bond proceeds.
- Prohibits use of bond proceeds for salaries or operating expenses.
- Requires facilities for public charter schools.
- Authorizes property taxes in excess of 1% limit by 55% vote, rather than current two-thirds, as necessary to pay school bonds