Majority Leader Gonzalez Introduces the Climate Resilient Schools Act

Majority Leader Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) introduced Senate Bill (SB) 1182 the Climate Resilient Schools Act that would require the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a comprehensive Master Plan to advance healthy, sustainable, and climate-resilient schools. Specifically, the bill will require the CEC to establish a steering team to facilitate stakeholder engagement in developing the Master Plan.

Bis 2025 will Amazon seine Aktivitäten ausschließlich mit erneuerbaren Energien betreiben (Bild: Pixabay)Bis 2025 will Amazon seine Aktivitäten ausschließlich mit erneuerbaren Energien betreiben (Bild: Pixabay)

Sacramento, Calif. – On February 14, 2024 The plan will aim to mitigate climate risks, enhance sustainability, and reduce harmful emissions from school facilities by pinpointing policy gaps, ensuring equitable allocation of state resources, and recommending overall priorities for school facilities programs.


Frontline and low-income communities bear a disproportionate amount of the impacts of climate change, and Black, Hispanic, and Native American students disproportionately attend school districts with lower average spending and investments on their facilities, and operations and maintenance.


This forward-thinking legislation seeks to better serve and safeguard our students and frontline communities most affected by the impacts of the climate crisis. It takes into account the unique traits of California schools positioning them as crucial players in preparing and aiding the state's endeavors in addressing climate-related challenges.

In California, there are over 1,000 school districts operating more than 10,000 school facilities, spanning 125,000 acres of land and 730 million square feet of buildings. These facilities generate significant Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and add to other adverse environmental effects. Through the Climate Resilient Schools Act, the state can lead a powerful transformation in education, aligning with state climate objectives and contributing to the fight against the climate crisis. The bill will also equip California schools to capitalize on upcoming grants and incentives for decarbonization and climate adaptation through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act.

“The Climate Resilient Schools Act will help protect our students and frontline communities from the adverse impacts of the climate crisis while simultaneously addressing the crisis itself,” said Majority Leader Gonzalez (D-Long Beach). “It is a timely opportunity we simply cannot miss, especially as our state benefits from federal funds that can be utilized to construct sustainable schools, minimize pollution, and ensure our students remain healthy and safe as they learn, despite the challenges posed by climate change. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature as the bill progresses through the legislative process and into committee hearings in the upcoming weeks.”

“The need to act urgently to protect our students from the impacts of climate change and extreme weather cannot be overstated,” said Jonathan Klein, CEO and Co-Founder, UndauntedK12. Senator Gonzalez’s bill would establish a framework and much-needed guidance for state and local education agencies to transition to the school buildings and grounds that will keep our students healthy, safe, and learning despite increasing climate impacts that affect our communities and schools. This Climate-Resilient Schools Act is a much needed step.”

“The CFT is honored to be a part of a powerful coalition to reintroduce a bill as the first step for a healthy and safe climate-resilient school system for the students in California,” said Jeffery Freitas, President CFT—A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals. “The author, Senator Gonzalez, a champion on the climate crisis, through her commitment and knowledge will lead the work to get this bill to the Governor’s desk. Their leadership on this means that California schools will not only be a part of the climate goals on emissions reductions and solar energy goals of CFT and our state, which is essential, but schools will also be better prepared for smoke days, potential airborne illness, extreme heat, and the other environmental challenges we are experiencing.”

“Momentum for environmental and climate action in TK–12 schools lags behind other sectors, but has begun to grow with promising pockets of action across the state,”said Andra Yeghoian, Chief Innovation Officer, Ten Strands. “A Master Plan for Climate Resilient Schools is needed at this time to accelerate the pace of change for California's TK–12 schools, and to do so with a vision that is equity-informed and supports multi-directional communication across state, county, and local agencies. This master plan will serve as a much needed catalyst and foundation for TK–12 schools in their ability to mitigate, adapt, and educate students for a climate-resilient future.”

“California is on the frontlines of the climate crisis, which poses a serious threat to children’s health. Wildfire smoke is ten times more harmful to children’s health than regular air pollution, and climate science now predicts a 50 percent increase in smoke exposure,” said Lisa Patel, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford School of Medicine. “We must transform our schools into places where kids are safe from the threats of climate change while turning our buildings into showcases for the solutions for a cleaner and more hopeful future. We need a concerted, state-wide Master Plan to support our school leaders in making this transition and make smart investments with our limited funding. I hope California takes the opportunity to show the rest of the country what it means to lead on climate change as both a profound health threat but an even bigger opportunity to build a better world for our kids.”

“Sound planning is essential to spending money wisely. Our schools must be climate-resilient, because school shutdowns disrupt our kids’ learning and harm their mental health. Far too many are not ready for the climate impacts we’re experiencing and predicting,” said Jeff Vincent, Co-founder, UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools. “State lawmakers should take bold action to ensure our schools are equipped to keep all children healthy and safe. A statewide climate resilient master plan for schools is the much-needed bold step in the right direction.”




Majority Leader Gonzalez represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes the City of Long Beach and portions of South Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles including the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, and South Gate. She lives in Long Beach with her family. Website of Majority Leader Gonzalez: www.sen.ca.gov/gonzalez

Jonathan Klein is the Co-founder and CEO of UndauntedK12. ??He is a nationally recognized social entrepreneur, campaign strategist, and executive with a demonstrated history of impact in education and politics. He was radicalized around the climate crisis while chaperoning middle schoolers at September 2019's climate strike.

UndauntedK12 is a California-based national nonprofit organization with a mission to support America's K-12 public schools to make an equitable transition to zero carbon emissions while preparing youth to build a sustainable future in a rapidly changing climate. 

The Center for Cities + Schools at UC Berkeley (CC+S) conducts high-quality, non-partisan policy research, engages youth in urban planning, and cultivates collaboration between city and school leaders to strengthen all communities.  CC+S works to advance policies and practices that create opportunity-rich places where young people can be successful in and out of school. CC+S was founded at UC Berkeley in 2004 to position high-quality education as essential to creating equitable, healthy and sustainable cities for all. CC+S is an interdisciplinary initiative between UC Berkeley's School of Education and the College of Environmental Design. They partner extensively with the Department of City and Regional Planning and are housed at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD). The vision for CC+S was born out of more than twenty years of work related specifically to schools and public housing in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the country.

Andra Yeghoian is the Chief Innovation Officer at Ten Strands. She brings more than 15 years of experience in education across public and private school systems, nationally and internationally. She currently provides visionary leadership for a California-wide whole systems approach to integrating environmental and climate literacy, and sustainable and climate resilient school efforts, across a school community’s campus, curriculum, community and culture.

Ten Strands is a California–based nonprofit established in 2012. Their mission is to strengthen the partnerships and strategies that will bring climate and environmental literacy to all of California’s TK–12 students. They operate with a small, diverse, and nimble staff and strategic partners throughout the state. Ten Strands utilizes the largest and most diverse institution in California—the public school system—to impact 58 county offices of education, more than 1,000 school districts, approximately 10,000 individual schools, over 300,000 teachers, and 5.8 million children. For more information, visit http://tenstrands.org 

Dr. Lisa Patel is a Clinical Associate Professor and Pediatric Hospitalist at Stanford Children’s Hospital and the Executive Director for The Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health. Her work has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the New York Times, the LA Times, Bloomberg News, and multiple state and local outlets. 

Jeff Vincent, PhD is the co-founder and Director of Public Infrastructure Initiatives at the UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools. He leads numerous research projects and facilitates many of the center’s research and policy partnerships in California and across the country, spearheading CC+S’s work on equitable public school facilities. His research and policy writing has been published in peer-reviewed and practitioner-oriented journals, books, and other outlets in addition to CC+S publications. Jeff writes extensively on a variety of issues, including school infrastructure planning, school siting and design, sustainable communities, community development, educational economics, housing policy, state school construction policies, joint use of schools, youth engagement in redevelopment, refugee resettlement, and transportation policy. Jeff is a winner of the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Award for Public Service, Research in the Public Interest.

Majority Leader Gonzalez
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