Senator Portantino & SGV Economic Partnership Ask if Surplus School Property Can Help Fund Affordable Housing and Relieve Budget Pressures

Friday, February 14 2020

Sacramento, California – State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) has introduced SB 1017 to allow school districts to better utilize surplus property. Under current law, School Districts are heavily restricted in how they can dispense with surplus property.   They are generally restricted to only using the sale or lease of a property for one-time capital expenditures. This bill will  allow school districts to use  proceeds from property sales to pay for the district’s CalSTRS or CalPERS obligations, allow the district to place the money in their General Fund reserve, or be used to offset costs that the district spends on special needs students. The hope is to incentivize sales of unused property for affordable workforce housing.   The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership suggested the bill idea to Senator Portantino who saw its merit and quickly moved on the idea.


“Considering the challenges that California faces regarding funding for public education, pension obligations, and the construction of affordable housing, it does not make sense to me that school districts are hamstrung in how they are able use their assets.  I’m hopeful that we can help all three important efforts,” commented Senator Portantino.


This bill will benefit schools and communities in multiple ways. By giving school districts more flexibility, they will have the self-determination to capitalize on their own assets. In addition to the financial benefit to the school district, these unused properties can lead to affordable workforce housing that will help attract talented new employees to a district.  California is facing a historic housing crisis and it will never be solved without innovative solutions such as this.  


“This bill will incentivize school districts to sell or lease surplus properties for vital, new affordable housing,” said Bill Manis, President and CEO of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership. “By providing greater flexibility in how districts can use the proceeds of a property lease or sale, more land will be available for affordable housing in communities that desperately need it.”