Author Archives: CASH Staff

Request for Signature Assembly Bill 203 (O’Donnell)

The Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) supported Assembly Bill 203 by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell. This bill has passed the Legislature and is awaiting action by Governor Brown. AB 203 will help small districts and give school districts and design professionals more flexibility in designing school classrooms. AB 203 will help implement the Next Generation classrooms needed by students and teachers. It also provides the flexibility needed to implement the design research that helps increase academic achievement. Please write or e-mail Governor Brown and urge him to sign AB 203. The message can be short, such as:

Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA
95814

I am (identify yourself by profession) who urges you to sign Assembly Bill 203. This legislation will give school districts and design professionals the flexibility they need to design research based and energy efficient classrooms for students and teachers.

Thank you,

(your name)

Click Here to send your e-mail to the Governor.

Thank you for helping CASH.

~ CASH Staff

State Allocation Board Approves $443.6 Million in Projects on the Unfunded List

Today, September 6, 2017, the State Allocation Board (SAB) met to take action on School Facility Program (SFP) funding apportionments.  The Board approved this item which provides approximately $443.6 million in SFP apportionments for 135 projects from 70 school districts.  These are projects on the Unfunded List (Lack of AB 55 Loans) that have submitted priority funding requests and were eligible for apportionment.

CASH submitted a letter to the Board which raises an objection to the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) using 2012 grant amounts for the projects being apportioned in September 2017.  CASH believes that the traditional SAB policy of using the grant amounts at the time of apportionment should be retained, which ensures that hardship districts and districts that could not move projects forward and are awaiting state matching funds, will not face fiscal difficulties from construction cost escalation between the date of their application and the date of apportionment. The SAB chose to use the 2012 grant amounts, and CASH believes that school districts with projects on the September 6, 2017 SAB agenda should have the opportunity to appeal to the SAB if they believe they are being harmed.  This appeal process should be similar to the “do-no-harm” appeal policy adopted by the SAB when the Board adopted Option 1 at the June 5, 2017 Board meeting.

~ CASH Staff

CASH Legislative Update

The Senate Appropriations Committee held its final hearing of the year, and two bills of interest to CASH were approved.  The following is a brief summary of the bills and the Committee vote.

More detailed information to follow:

AB 203 (O’Donnell) – School Facility Program/Flexibility

Requires the California Department of Education to establish standard for use by school districts to ensure that the design and construction of school facilities are educationally appropriate and promote school safety.  The bill also requires the standards to ensure that the design and construction of school facilities provide school districts with flexibility in designing school facilities.  This bill was approved on a 7-0 vote.

AB 746 (Fletcher-Gonzalez) – Water/Lead Testing

Requires schools to test for lead in potable water systems at every school site within its jurisdiction at least once a year or once every three years depending on whether a building was constructed on or after January 1, 1993.  If the tests show elevated lead levels (15 parts per billion/United States Environmental Protection Agency Standard), the school must notify parents and guardians of the elevated level and provide information on lead developed by an agency with expertise in lead.  This bill was approved on a 7-0 vote.

~ CASH Staff

 

New California Supreme Court Opinion

The new opinion by the California Supreme Court appears to have almost no effect on schools. The opinion, California Cannabis Coalition et. al.  v. City of Upland et.al,. is a very narrow opinion dealing with an issue that is a local government, but not school district, series of Constitutional and statutory  provisions on local initiatives to place revenue measures on the ballot.

The issue revolves around which ballot – general election or special election if placed on the ballot at all. Cities and counties have much broader revenue raising ability than schools.  For example, a city council can vote to increase certain revenues without a vote of the people if a local initiative to increase that revenue has qualified for the ballot. School boards have no such authority.

The exercise of that authority was part of the case that was decided by the Supreme Court. Because schools do not have this authority, and for many other reasons, the decision probably will have no or very little effect on school districts.

However, subsequent litigation on issues, such as voter approval requirements lower than 2/3 for special taxes, raised in the case but not decided by the court could affect schools – but that is something that is a long way down the legal road with no clear outcome.

~ CASH Staff

The Tragedy of Hurricane Harvey Will Affect California Schools

August 29, 2017

Thousands of people are suddenly homeless, many thousands more have flooded homes and many more have had their homes destroyed by Category 4 winds.  In addition, businesses and public infrastructure will need to be rebuilt as soon as possible.

This humanitarian need could cause even more pressure on building materials supply and cost, as well as skilled workforce needs. CASH wants to remind you that if you are looking to start a major project you will need to rethink the possible costs and possible delays that could occur because of the effect from Hurricane Harvey and continuing flooding.

~CASH Staff

Coalition for Adequate School Housing Leadership, Education Officials Urge the State to Accelerate Pace of School Facility Bond Sales

August 24, 2017

On August 23, Don Ulrich, Deputy Superintendent of the Clovis Unified School District and Chair of the Coalition for Adequate School Housing, joined education officials from the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators and other education focused organizations at a press conference on the West Steps of the State Capitol to urge the Legislature and the Governor’s administration to increase the speed and size of school construction bond sales.

In November last year, voters passed Proposition 51 authorizing the state to sell $9 billion in school facility bonds to help address the accumulated multi-billion-dollar backlog in K-12 construction projects waiting on state funding and to help chip away at the projected K-14 future facility’s needs. Nearly a year later, the state has only authorized approximately $400 million in bond sales for 2017.

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Why is state being so stingy on school bonds?

Following is a published opinion editorial that was in the Sacramento Bee on August 23, 2017.  This states the CASH position on selling school bonds.

BY DON ULRICH AND LISA GONZALES

Special to The Bee

AUGUST 22, 2017 1:00 PM

Major school construction projects require vision and patience to plan and appropriately budget, but pay off in student performance and teacher job satisfaction. Typically, school districts invest years in planning and in raising the funds to pay for them.

So the state’s decision to sell a minimal amount this fall of school bonds – which provide a significant portion of funding for most school construction projects – is disappointing.

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State Allocation Board Approves Career Technical Education Facilities Program & Bond Sale Information

Today the State Allocation Board met to hear and take action on a number of items, including three school district appeals and regulations to establish new funding cycles for the Career Technical Education Facilities Program (CTEFP).  An item proposing regulatory amendments to new construction application processing was originally agendized but subsequently pulled from consideration at today’s meeting.

Executive Officer Statement: Fall GO BondSale
During the Executive Officer statement, Lisa Silverman indicated that the fall General Obligation bond sale will take place on August 29, 2017.  The recent priority funding filing period closed on June 8, 2017, and the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) received requests for 139 projects from 73 districts worth a total of $443.6 million.  Ms. Silverman reported that she anticipates receiving bond proceeds from the August 29 sale to cover the projects that submitted a certification in the recent filing period.  She stated that the SAB meeting originally scheduled for September 23 has been moved up to September 6, 2017 to take action on the projects that submitted a certification in the recent priority funding round.

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Senator Pat Bates on Selling State Bonds for Schools

Following is a Facebook post from Senator Pat Bates.

Last November, California’s voters authorized the state to sell $9 billion in school construction bonds (Prop. 51). However, the state has only authorized $400 million in 2017. That’s less than 5 percent of what voters approved and is woefully inadequate.

Some of the projects waiting for funds in Orange and San Diego counties date back to 2013. Further delays would mean that some of these projects may not begin for a few more years.

I stand with school officials, teachers and parents throughout the state in asking the Governor’s administration to act with more urgency in regards to these bonds. Click on the link below to learn more.

Why is state being so stingy on school bonds?

Voters approved Proposition 51 last November, authorizing the state to sell $9 billion in school construction bonds. However, the state has only authorized a bond sale for about $400 million in 2017. School officials will rally at the state…

sacbee.com