Bond Bill Passed By Assembly Higher Education & Facilities Budget Update

April 24, 2014 

Bond Bill – AB 2235

The bond bill, AB 2235 (Buchanan/Hagman) was heard on Tuesday, April 22 by its second policy committee, Assembly Higher Education, and passed with bipartisan support.  This committee focused on the need for a new bond for the higher education segments, but some issues related to K-12 were raised by members of the committee.  There was no opposition by members of the public or committee.  C.A.S.H. Chair Joe Dixon (Santa Ana Unified School District) testified on behalf of C.A.S.H. in support of the bill.

 

Overall, committee members acknowledged the need for a new bond.  One, Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer, urged for appropriate bond accountability measures, and Buchanan and Hagman explained the current accountability mechanisms that are in place at both the state and local levels.

 

While there is currently no specific dollar amount in the bond bill, Buchanan suggested a total amount of approximately $9 billion to $10 billion.  In response to the Governor’s concerns regarding the use of debt financing for facilities, Buchanan stated that we need to convince the Governor that investing in school facilities is “good debt.”

 

The bill will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  The real work continues on moving the Governor to support the bond.  We want to thank all of our members who have provided their letters of support directly to the Governor.  Please see below for a list of all the letters that have been submitted by C.A.S.H. members.

 

Facilities Issues in the FY 2014-15 Budget

On Tuesday, the Governor’s FY 2014-15 budget proposals regarding school facilities had their first budget hearing.  The Assembly Budget Subcommittee #2 on Education Finance discussed the following proposals, deferring action until after the May Revision:

 

- Provide $188.1 million in one-time funds for the Emergency Repair Program (ERP).  C.A.S.H. supports this proposal.

 

-  Shift $211 million in remaining bond authority from four boutique programs to the main New Construction and Modernization programs.  C.A.S.H. opposes this proposal.

 

C.A.S.H. Chair Joe Dixon addressed the Subcommittee on behalf of C.A.S.H., expressing support for the Governor’s ERP proposal and opposition to the funds transfer proposal.

 

The ERP proposal was supported by the Subcommittee Chair, Assembly Member Muratsuchi, as well as Assembly Budget staff and the California Department of Education.  They recognized the importance of maintaining the state’s commitment to these projects and the Williams settlement.  The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) expressed concern about reimbursing districts for old emergency repairs that have likely already been completed, and instead suggested that the State may have met its Williams obligation by providing additional funds in the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) base grant that can be used for maintenance purposes or repairs.

 

Assembly Member Muratsuchi and Assembly Budget staff were concerned about the bond authority transfer proposal, stating that the transfer does not meet the state’s facilities needs and voicing support for a new state bond.  The LAO suggested that the transfer could be delayed by 6 months to January 2015 to provide time for OPSC to process additional applications under the existing boutique programs.  The Subcommittee members questioned why there has not been more participation in the Seismic Mitigation Program.

 

The Subcommittee also discussed the Governor’s proposed allocation for Proposition 39, which would provide $316 million for K-12 schools.  The Governor’s budget did not include an allocation for the Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA) loan program, but Assembly Member Skinner (Assembly Budget Committee Chair) suggested that the Legislature should consider providing some of the FY 14-15 Proposition 39 revenues to ECAA, which is oversubscribed for 2013-14.  The Subcommittee members asked about K-12 participation to date, and Kathleen Moore (California Department of Education) explained that Local Education Agencies have requested their planning dollars and are planning their projects, reviewing ways to leverage funds and partner with their utilities, taking a holistic approach to projects.  The Subcommittee held this item open pending the May Revision.

 

The May Revision is tentatively scheduled to be released on May 14, so these issues will be discussed again after the Governor releases his revised budget proposal based on updated revenue estimates.

 

Bond Letters

We thank the following members for sending their letters in support of a new state bond to the Governor:

 

Public Entities

Atascadero USD, Buckeye Union SD, Chico USD, Clovis USD, Corona-Norco USD, Desert Sands USD, Downey USD, Elk Grove USD, Fresno COE, Fresno USD, Fullerton Jt Union HSD, Golden Valley USD, Irvine USD, Kern County Supt of Schools, Kingsburg Jt USD, Lancaster SD, Long Beach USD, Lucia Mar USD, Marysville Jt USD, Newport Mesa USD, Norris Elem SD, Oceanside USD, Rocklin USD, San Bernardino City USD, San Jacinto USD, San Juan USD, San Marcos USD, Santa Ana USD, Solano COE, Solvang ES, Sweetwater Union HSD, Sylvan USD, Tracy USD, Twin Rivers USD, Ventura COE, Victor Elem. SD, Western Placer USD, Wiseburn USD

 

Private Entities

All American Inspection, Arcadis, BC Architecture, BSK Associates, Capital Engineering Consultants, Capital Program Management, Carter Kelly Inc, CM Construction Services, CSDA Design Group, Dannis Woliver Kelley, Darden Architects Inc, David Taussig & Associates, DC Architects, DLR Group – 6 letters, DMSI, KBZ Architects, KNA Consulting Engineers, Lawrence Nye Carlson, Lionakis, Lundgren Management, MAAS Companies, McCarthy Building Companies Inc, Meehleis Modular, NAC Architecture, Neff Construction, Placeworks, Prefast, Rainforth Grau Architects, RGM and Associates, School Air, SealsBiehle, SEWUP-Statewide Educational Wrap-up Program, Susan Ryan Consulting, Tate Snyder Kimsey, Telacu Construction Management, Terraphase Engineering, TerraVerde Renewable Partners, TLCD Architecture, Vanir Construction Management, Western Floor Service, WLC Architects,

WLC Construction Services, XL Construction, ZFA Structural Engineers

 

~ Rebekah Cearley