December 14, 2017
Every student and teacher deserves a clean, safe, quality classroom. Without these essential resources students are at a disadvantage, and research shows they do not perform as well academically. CASH sponsored, and voters approved, Proposition 51 to provide state matching funds for building and renovating classrooms. There are currently more than $2.8 billion in applications for state matching funds, and the state should be selling bonds at the pace required to meet this need. In my district alone, Clovis Unified School District, we have applied for more than $61 million in state matching Grant funds for new construction and modernization.
Districts all over California are in a similar situation, and it is particularly challenging for those districts who have filed hardship applications. Districts have invested local bonds and other funds in these projects and promised their communities that they would be good stewards of both local and state taxpayer’s dollars. We are working with the Administration and the Legislature to prioritize funding school construction projects through the sale of Proposition 51 bonds. Next year’s budget and spring bond sales are important opportunities for the state to demonstrate its commitment to quality learning environments in schools across the state through their investment in selling state bonds. To help be successful, I am requesting that you contact your Assembly Member and Senator to make sure they know “your number,” the dollars your district currently qualifies for in matching funds and what area of need your teachers, students, and community have for those funds. Speak to them before commencement of the legislative session in January, and keep talking to them until we get results. With the support of our CASH family, I know we will be successful on behalf of our students and teachers.
CASH needs your help to persuade the State to sell bonds faster and in much larger amounts. We can succeed if school districts tell their story about how delaying sales and delaying needed projects hurt their children and teachers.
We need all school districts and all county offices of education to submit resolutions to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to their legislators so we can start pushing for the State to honor the voters’ will.
Click here to view a sample resolution.
Click here to find your State Representatives.
CASH Legislative Wrap-Up 2017
The Legislature adjourned for final recess on September 15, and the Governor had until October 15 to sign or veto bills. CASH took active positions on 16 bills: 9 Oppose (8 died, 1 signed), 7 support (5 signed, 2 died). Themes for school facilities legislation and regulation in 2017 were local bonds (accountability, transparency, limitations), the School Facility Program (SFP), skilled workforce, construction process and delivery, water quality and lead, environmental issues, energy and Proposition 39. In addition, this year much of the significant school facility policy changes were made not in stand-alone bills, but instead in Budget Trailer Bills (SB 96/Updates to the DIR Prevailing Wage Monitoring Program, AB 111/DSA project filing fee increase, SB 110/Proposition 39 indefinite extension). Key individual bills that CASH weighed in on in 2017 that were signed into law include:
- AB 203 (O’Donnell) – flexibility in design standards and assistance for small schools
- SB 418 (Hernandez) – exempts a number of specified trades from increased skilled workforce apprenticeship percentages for lease-leaseback and design build
- AB 746 (Gonzalez-Fletcher) – testing school drinking water to determine if it contains lead.
CASH Fall Conference
The 2017 CASH Fall Conference in Newport Beach was successful and well-attended. The pre-conference workshop focused on demystifying new obligations, including changes that will allow schools and their private industry partners to successfully navigate the state approval process to access funding. The workshop covered changes in indemnity defense obligations for design professionals, new requirements for bidding and contracting under recent Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) legislation, changes to skilled workforce requirements, new school bond audit requirements, and other significant new state requirements.
The Conference included presentations about CASH advocacy efforts to ensure state bonds are sold in a timely manner, the new important School Facility Program (SFP) Front-End Grant Agreement and local audit requirements for state-funded projects, a summary of new legislation and regulations, and updates from our state agency partners, including the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC), the Division of the State Architect (DSA) and the California Department of Education (CDE). Mark Schniepp with the California Economic Forecast was the keynote speaker at lunch and was well-received. The Conference included information for school maintenance departments, including CASH’s effort to update the CASH Facilities Inspection Tool (FIT) Guidebook, as well as a presentation by the CASH School Facilities Leadership Academy.
~ Don Ulrich, Ed.D., CASH Chair