Office of Public School Construction Stakeholder Meetings – Grant Agreements

February 15, 2017

The Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) stakeholder meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sacramento, has been canceled. The meeting has been rescheduled to Monday, March 6, 2017, for purposes of discussing and receiving feedback on the draft grant agreements for the School Facility Program. The NOTICE (PDF) has been posted to the OPSC website under Meeting Information and on the State Allocation Board web page. This meeting will also be webcast.

~ CASH Staff

Quarterly Message from the Chair

February 13, 2017

“Don’t Cry Because It’s Over, Smile Because It Happened” – Dr. Seuss

This will be my final Message from the Chair. It has been my great honor to serve the CASH organization, and I feel very confident in the wisdom and leadership of your next Chair Don Ulrich (Clovis USD), who I believe will continue our positive momentum. I would like to thank my colleagues on the Board of Directors, as well as each of you for the honor of serving as your leader these past two years.

Proposition 51: Victory

During my time as the chair of CASH, the school facilities community and our organization have faced many significant challenges, but none more significant than our fight for continued state support of school facilities. Facing questions about what role the state should play, if any, in the future funding of school facilities, the CASH Board and members fought for adequate, equitable and safe school facilities by advocating for continued state funding through the School Facilities Program (SFP).

The CASH Board made the bold decision to place a statewide school bond initiative on the November 2016 ballot, which required a campaign to gather signatures in 2015, and a robust campaign for voter approval in 2016. On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Proposition 51 was approved by 55% of California’s voters, once again demonstrating the public’s support of schools. I would like to thank all of you who supported Proposition 51 – our success would not have been possible without your energy and commitment.

The Road Ahead: Implementation of Proposition 51

While we are very pleased Proposition 51 was approved, we know that we have more work to do in 2017. CASH believes that Proposition 51 is inseparably linked to the current School Facilities Program (SFP), and we expect to be engaged in the challenging implementation work of re-establishing mechanisms for cash flow, project review and approval, and apportionments. We will continue to engage with the Administration, Legislature, State Allocation Board (SAB), Office of Public School Construction (OPSC), Pooled Money Investment Board (PMIB), State Treasure’s Office (STO), and other key agencies and constituencies.

In the 2017-18 State Budget Proposal released on January 10, the Governor stated his willingness to work to have Proposition 51 funds flow to school projects, as long as new program audit requirements are established. The challenge will be implementing the audit provisions that Governor Brown wants before allowing Proposition 51 funds to flow. CASH has always supported accountability for spending taxpayer funds. We have a stated policy that every public funded school project should be audited. If there are changes needed, we look forward to making those changes as soon as possible. While we certainly will engage in discussions about a future state school facilities program, our primary focus will be on implementing Proposition 51.

38th Annual Conference

The 38th Annual Conference begins next week, on Monday, February 20, and runs through Wednesday, February 22 at the Sacramento Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Sacramento. We are expecting higher attendance than last year, and the Trade Show has once again sold out. If you have yet to register, do so as soon as possible, to join our industry colleagues that will be attending the more than 50 workshops and roundtables that will be offered. Don’t miss the General Sessions and NextGen Experience in the Trade Show, which is bigger than ever. The Networking Dinner will be held on Tuesday evening, I hope to see you there!

~ Jenny Hannah

Office of Public School Construction Stakeholder Meeting on Grant Agreements

February 10, 2017

The Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) has scheduled a stakeholder’s meeting to discuss and receive feedback on the draft grant agreements for the School Facility Program.  The notice( has been posted to the OPSC website under Meeting Information and on the State Allocation Board webpage. This meeting will also be webcast.

~ CASH Staff

February Facility Planners Meeting Update

February 6, 2017

The CASH Facility Planners Meeting Update for February 2017 is now available and includes information regarding:

  • Governor’s 2017-18 State Budget Addresses Proposition 51 Implementation
  • Governor’s Budget Proposal & State of the State Address
  • Legislative Update
  • State Water Resources Control Board Takes Action to Improve School Drinking Water Quality
  • CASH Welcomes New Members

Click here to download the Update.

~ CASH Staff

SAB Senate Member Appointments & February 22 Meeting Canceled

February 3, 2017

The February 22, 2017, State Allocation Board meeting has been canceled.  The next State Allocation Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at 4:00 p.m.  Location will be determined.

The following three Senate members have been appointed to the State Allocation Board:

  • Senator Benjamin Allen
  • Senator Janet Nguyen, and
  • Senator Richard Pan

These three appointments make a full complement of the State Allocation Board.

~ CASH Staff

State Water Resources Control Board Takes Action to Improve School Drinking Water Quality

February 2, 2017 | CASH would like to thank Julia Stein and Andrew Homer from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP for the following article.

State Water Resources Control Board Takes Action to Improve School Drinking Water Quality

Given increased attention nationwide on drinking water quality, particularly in public schools, the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) has recently announced two initiatives of particular interest to school districts, to further improve and safeguard drinking water quality.

The first comes in the form of a mandate to community water systems to provide free testing of school drinking water for lead upon request.  The second is the establishment of a new grant program to improve drinking water quality in public schools.

California Water Systems Mandated To Provide Lead Testing

On January 17, 2017, the State Board announced that it would require all community water systems in California to test school drinking water upon request by the school’s officials.  Most of California’s 9,000 K-12 schools are served by community water systems, and while those systems regularly test water quality, it is possible for lead to enter clean water at school campuses through old fixtures or corroded pipes at particular school sites.

While these events are less common in California due to newer infrastructure, the State Board has now incorporated public school facilities into regular water quality testing that community water systems conduct at taps.  This new requirement ensures that schools wanting lead testing can receive it for free.  Schools are not mandated to request testing, but if a school does make a written request to the relevant community water system, the system must collect samples, and must bear the costs associated with the sampling, analysis of the samples, and reporting of the results.

Once a school makes a written request for sampling, the community water system must sample on-site taps within three months, and must then report the results back to the school within two business days.  Typical locations to be sampled include cafeteria and food preparation areas, drinking fountains, and reusable water filling stations.

This one-time program, which is available until November 1, 2019, allows interested schools to determine the potential for any lead impacts to water quality on-site for free.  In the event that lead is found in tests, the State Board’s Division of Financial Assistance will have some funding available to assist schools in addressing any issues, with a particular focus on schools in disadvantaged communities.

For more information about the State Board’s lead testing program, and to see a template request for sampling, visit: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/leadsamplinginschools.shtml.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP counsel Andrew Homer (andrew.homer@pillsburylaw.com) and Julia Stein (julia.stein@pillsburylaw.com) can be contacted for assistance with the request process or questions about the process.

Grant Funds To Improve Drinking Water Quality

The State Board is also in the process of setting up a new grant program pursuant to Senate Bill 828, which is intended to provide around $9.5 million in grant funding to improve drinking water quality in public schools.  The program will give priority to projects with high effectiveness in increasing access to safe drinking water in schools, as well as to schools serving disadvantaged communities.

The grant program will include, but is not limited to, funding for:

  • Installation of water bottle filling stations;
  • Installation or replacement of drinking water fountains with devices that are capable of removing contaminants present in the facility’s water supply;
  • Installation of point-of-entry or point-of-use treatment devices for drinking fountains, up to three years of post-installation replacement filters, and operation, maintenance, and monitoring of the devices, including training on how to operate and maintain them.

Grant application guidelines are currently in the development process, and it is anticipated that draft guidelines will be released in February.  The State Board is accepting comments on the guidelines; school district stakeholders may submit comments to Patricia Leary (Patricia.Leary@waterboards.ca.gov) or Ravi Jawanda (Ravinder.Jawanda@waterboards.ca.gov), or via mail to the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Financial Assistance, Drinking Water for Schools Grant Program, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Additional information about the grant program can be found at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/grants_loans/schools. The State Board estimates that final grant guidelines will be adopted in April 2017, and that solicitations for grants under the program will be open from May through the end of June 2017.

Assembly Education Committee Schedules Hearing on School Facility Program

January 31, 2017

The Assembly Education Committee has scheduled an informational hearing on the School Facility Program.  The hearing is set for Wednesday, February 8 at 1:30 p.m. in State Capitol Room 4202.  Specifically, the topic of the hearing is: “School Facilities: Streamlining the School Siting and School Funding Processes.”

CASH is pleased to have the opportunity to engage with key policymakers, including Assembly Education Committee Chair Patrick O’Donnell, on this important issue.

~ CASH Staff

Assistance from the Governor’s Office for CASH Members Who Have Not Yet Submitted Their EEPs

January 30, 2017

The Governor’s Office of Planning & Research (OPR) may be reaching out to you if you have not yet submitted an energy expenditure plans (EEP) under the Proposition 39 program.  As you know the final deadline for submitting an EEP under the five-year program is August 1, 2017.  The Governor’s Office wants to encourage and assist schools that have not yet submitted their plans for funding approval.  This outreach to CASH and School Energy Coalition (SEC) members are the result of SEC meetings with the Governor’s Office to assist LEAs – especially smaller schools and charters – that may be having difficulty moving forward to access funding and we appreciate their interest and outreach. find out more about SEC’s advocacy efforts at our upcoming meeting during the CASH Annual Conference at 2:15 p.m. on Monday, February 20, 2017, in Room 315 of the Sacramento Convention Center. You do not have to be a SEC member to attend. See you there!

~ CASH Staff

State Allocation Board Meeting Notes – January 2017

January 25, 2017

Minutes

The minutes from the December 5, 2016, meeting were approved unanimously.

Executive Officer Statement

Lisa Silverman provided updates on the following:

  • Charter Round Opening: A new Charter School Facilities Program (CSFP) round will open and applications will be accepted from February 6, 2017, through June 5, 2017. $500 million is now available with the passage of Proposition 51. Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) staff will be providing a webinar and workshops on the CSFP application process.
  • August 2016 Priority Funding Apportionments: On August 17, 2016, $78.7 million was approved for 20 projects from 14 school districts. 19 projects were required to submit Form SAB 50-05 by November 15, 2016; two projects worth $932,070.50 did not.  They were returned to the Unfunded List (Lack of AB 55 Loans) and given a new Unfunded Approval date of November 15, 2016.

Consent Agenda

The consent agenda was approved unanimously. Items included, but were not limited to, the following:

Annual Adjustment to School Facility Program Grants
The Board adopted an increase of 4.42 percent for the 2017 School Facility Program (SFP) grants based on the RS Means Construction Cost Index (CCI).  In February 2016, the Board adopted the RS Means CCI for 2016 and future years.

Emergency Repair Program Funding
The Board apportioned $2,920,016.10 in Emergency Repair Program (ERP) funds for nine applications.  The OPSC received savings from previously funded projects.

Emergency Repair Program Grant Adjustments – Savings
The Board adopted an item to reduce grant apportionments by the savings and interest earned for 132 ERP applications. For these projects, $7,205,001.81 has been returned to the state, and an additional $2,233,670.46 will be returned to the state.

Facility Hardship / Rehabilitation Program
The Board approved one Facility Hardship Rehabilitation project for placement on the Unfunded List (Lack of AB 55 Loans).

Financial Reports

The following reflects remaining bond authority as of January 25, 2017, including Unfunded Approvals:

SFP Program Prop. 51 Prop. 1D Prop. 55 Prop. 47
New Construction $3.0 billion $3.3 million $6.1 million $0.9 million
Seismic Repair $58.9 million
Overcrowding Relief $14.0 million
Modernization $3.0 billion $5.5 million $0.1 million $0.1 million
Career Technical $500 million $0.9 million
High Performance $0.0
Charter School $500 million $28.6 million $1.7 million $0.8 million

Reports

2016 Office of State Audits and Evaluations Report and Greater Program Accountability
OPSC Executive Officer Lisa Silverman provided information to the State Allocation Board about the recent report completed by the Office of State Audits and Evaluations (OSAE), and actions that may be taken to enhance accountability in the School Facility Program (SFP).  The passage of Proposition 51 and the accountability measures proposed in the Governor’s 2017-18 Budget prompted staff to explore possible regulation and policy changes for the SFP. Lisa Silverman presented consideration of a “grant agreement” between the Board and applicant districts on a per-project basis, which would address some of the OSAE recommendations. She indicated that, with a grant agreement in place, OPSC staff could more efficiently monitor bond funds and confirm that each district met its required project milestones. Grant agreements would also provide greater transparency and clearly define expectations and responsibilities under the program for the state and the school district receiving SFP funding. Staff plans to present a regulation change proposal along with a detailed outline or example of a proposed grant agreement, as well as other possible changes to the SFP, in the near future.

Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell indicated that the voters have spoken in passing Proposition 51, and the Board needs to do all it can to get funding out to districts. CASH Chair Jenny Hannah addressed the Board in public comment, stating that CASH supports transparency and consistency for districts. She urged an expeditious process and offered that CASH can help provide input to align the state and local processes.

The Board accepted the report and requested that OPSC staff proceed with development of a grant agreement and companion regulation for Board action at a future meeting. SAB Chair Eraina Ortega expressed intent to bring the item back at the March Board meeting.

Overview of Informational Lists
OPSC Deputy Executive Officer Barbara Kampmeinert provided the Board with an overview of the Unfunded List and Applications Received Beyond Bond Authority list. She indicated that project circumstances may have changed since submission, and the lists will require future Board action. The Board acknowledged the report.

2016 Annual Legislative Update
Barbara Kampmeinert provided the Board with an update on the passage of legislation in 2016 that may impact programs administered by the Board. She indicated that no Board action is required as a result of these bills. The Board acknowledged the report.

The next State Allocation Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 22, 2017.

~ Rebekah Cearley

State Budget 2017-18 Update: Governor Addresses Proposition 51 Implementation

State Budget 2017-18 Update: Governor Addresses Proposition 51 Implementation

The Governor’s Budget proposal contains good news for school facilities, as well as some challenges. With regard to the implementation of Proposition 51, the Governor stated his willingness to work to have Proposition 51 funds flow to school projects. The challenges will be implementing the audit provisions that Governor Brown wants before allowing Proposition 51 funds to flow. Concerning Proposition 39 energy efficiency funding, the Governor proposes $422.9 million for K-12 school districts and charter schools, which is a significant investment.

CASH has always supported accountability for spending taxpayer funds. We have a stated policy that every public funded school project should be audited. If there are changes needed, we look forward to making those changes as soon as possible. We believe the audit guide concern can be addressed immediately without legislation because the guide is developed by the State Controller, Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Director of the Department of Finance. If legislation is needed to have a long-term statutory authority, CASH believes that can be done through a budget trailer bill. We will have more updates in the coming days as more details become available. Below is a summary of the proposed State Budget relating to school facilities.

K-12 School Facilities

“The recently approved Kindergarten through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016 (Proposition 51) authorizes $7 billion in state general obligation bonds for K‑12 schools to be allocated through the current School Facilities Program in place as of January 1, 2015. As the State Allocation Board and the Office of Public School Construction begin to consider allocation of Proposition 51 resources, it is important to address some of the shortcomings within the existing program that were recently documented in the audit findings issued by the Office of State Audits and Evaluations in a 2016 audit of Proposition 1D School Facilities Program expenditures. In that audit, it was determined that 1,533 projects representing over $3 billion in Proposition 1D funds have been completed without ensuring the bond funds were appropriately expended. The audit found instances in which school districts inappropriately used school facilities bond funding to purchase vehicles, tractors, tablets, golf carts, mascot uniforms, and custodial/ cleaning supplies. To ensure appropriate usage of all School Facilities Program bond funds and effective program accountability and oversight, the Administration will work with the State Allocation Board and the Office of Public School Construction to revise policies and regulations to implement front‑end grant agreements that define basic terms, conditions, and accountability measures for participants that request funding through the School Facilities Program.

To complement this front‑end accountability, the Administration will introduce legislation requiring facility bond expenditures to be included in the annual K‑12 Audit Guide. Independent auditors will verify that local educational agencies participating in the School Facilities Program have appropriately expended state resources.

Once these measures are in place to verify that taxpayers’ dollars are appropriately used, the Administration will support the expenditure of Proposition 51 funds.”

~ CASH Staff