May 4, 2015
Senator Jean Fuller
State Capitol, Room 3063
Re: Support for Senate Bills (SB) 111 and 121
Dear Senator Fuller:
On behalf of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and its SoCal Jobs Defense Council, a network of Southern California-based organizations and leaders from the business, labor, education, nonprofit, and public sectors dedicated to attracting and retaining aerospace and defense businesses and jobs in the region, please accept this letter in support of both SB 111 and SB 121.
At the outset, we would like to commend your leadership on Aerospace and Defense (A & D) issues and for championing both important pieces of legislation. Quite simply, SB 111 and SB 121 address a substantial challenge faced by our military bases throughout the state: ensuring access to quality education. In summary, these bills do the following:
- SB 111 is an appropriation bill that allocates the 20% matching funds needed for the state to draw on federal funding for public schools located on military installations. With the federal government providing 80% of the funding, SB 111 is proposing $61 million in state matching funds to leverage $240 million in federal funding for priority schools located on military bases.
- SB 121 provides the mechanism within the State Allocation Board to allocate priority to school districts to receive matching funds from the state to leverage the federal Office of Economic Adjustment funding.
As you know, California is a top location nationwide for aerospace and defense employment. We have dozens of military bases throughout the state that support tens of thousands of service members—many of whom have families. However, supporting these families by affording them with quality education for their children must be a top priority if we are to retain this talent as well as the high quality caliber of the bases here. Bases throughout California continue to be plagued by dilapidated facilities and no clear funding mechanism to improve these facilities over time. Specifically, in Southern California, we have nine schools that are on the Department of Defense’s priority list for this federal funding, including three schools at Edwards Air Force Base; two at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station; two at Naval Base San Diego; and two at Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton. SB 111 and SB 121 is a package proposal that provides for a solution to the challenge of education infrastructure funding at our military bases in California.
For all of the above reasons, we want to thank you for your efforts to address this critical issue and we also want to lend our support for both SB 111 and SB 121. We look forward to working with you and your office on moving both bills forward.
David Flaks, Chief Operating Officer
Co-Chair, SoCal Jobs Defense Council
Office of LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich