What Is the Difference Between a Proposition 39 and Proposition 46 General Obligation Bond Election?

This content was originally published by Keygent Managing Member, Chet Wang.

California K-14 districts can elect to have their bonds approved under proposition 39 or Proposition 46.  Following are the major differences between the two election types:

Board Approval Threshold

Prop 39

55%

Prop 46

66.7%


Election Dates

Prop 46

Any Tuesday

Prop 39

Statewide primary, general, special, or regularly scheduled local elections


Use of Bond Proceeds

Prop 39

Construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or replacement of school facilities
Furnishings and equipment
Acquisition or lease of real property

Prop 46

Acquisition or improvement of real property only

No furnishings or equipment


Accountability Measures

Prop 39

Citizens’ Oversight Committee
Annual audits

Prop 46

None


Annual Tax Rate Limits per $100,000 of AV

Prop 39

$60 for unified school districts
$30 for elementary and high school districts
$25 for community college districts

Prop 46

None


Selecting Proposition 39 or Proposition 46 for a bond election could be a political, facility-related, financial, or timing decision, among others. 

For example, if a 5-member board only has 3 approving members, then a Prop 39 bond could not move forward and Prop 46 would be an option.  This is because Prop 39 requires at least 2/3 board-member approval. 

If technology and equipment were required projects, then Prop 39 allows this while Prop 46 does not.