Why green construction in California will be getting a big boost

"It's not just the technology that goes into these buildings," Gordon said. "It's also about who builds and the maintenance of the work that determine how efficient they are."

Many school facilities in California are in poor shape. This is particularly true for large urban districts and farming communities in the state's Central Valley area. 

"There are schools that are literally falling apart, " Gordon said. "There are huge air quality issues in some classrooms. There are a lot of portable classrooms that are not in great shape, so this is an obvious place to invest California dollars."

Diaz said that construction companies are ready to begin applying for school projects.

"We're really eager to get started," he said.

Gordon said the next step is developing a plan for the money -- a task for the California General Assembly.

"The legislature is figuring out how to distribute the money," Gordon said. "Right now, there are three pieces of legislature before (the state assembly) and we expect the governor in January to put something in the budget that hopefully the legislature will consider."

State officials cautioned on the timing for distributing the tax money.

"Right now we really don't know how this will all shake out," said Eric Lamoureux, a spokesperson for the California Department of General Services, which oversees school construction. "We're expecting a lot of activity around getting these funds to the construction business, but we just don't know how long it will take and what (distribution) will look like."

Photo of school construction provided by capturefoto/Shutterstock