Category Archives: General

Quarterly Message from the Chair – July 2017

July 21, 2017

Sell Proposition 51 Bonds Now – California’s Students Can’t Wait 

Since its establishment in 1980, CASH’s primary mission has been to ensure that all of California’s students have access to schools that are clean, safe, and healthy, with classrooms that are integral to teaching and learning. We believe that quality learning facilities have a significant impact on student learning and success. This is why we have sponsored every California statewide school bond since 1982. This is also why CASH fought so hard for the passage of Proposition 51. Now we are fighting to ensure that Proposition 51 resources build local community schools – sooner rather than later.

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CASH Legislative Update

July 13, 2017

Friday, July 15 is the last day for policy committees to hear and refer bills to fiscal committees. This is a key deadline because bills that are held in policy committees are effectively dead for this year, and bills that are approved and move onto the fiscal committees can continue to move through the legislative process. Below are status updates on bills of concern to the organization that CASH advocates have been actively engaged on. Thematically, these bills reflect two issue areas that have dominated school facility legislation this year – local bond accountability and transparency, and the lead content of water in schools. CASH is pleased to have helped improve some bills and helped block others that could not be improved. The Legislature convenes summer recess on Friday, July 21 and returns on Monday, August 21  to finish its business for 2017.

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July Facility Planners Update

July 10, 2017

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

  • State Allocation Board Update
  • 2017-18 Budget: School Facility Trailer Bills
  • Legislative Update
  • Upcoming Networking Mixers

Click here to download the Update.

~ CASH Staff

State Allocation Board Update

June 28, 2017

On Wednesday, June 28, the State Allocation Board (SAB) met to hear issues related to actions taken at their meeting on June 5, 2017 (approval of “Option 1”).  Specifically, under Action Items, the agenda included “Regulatory Amendments for Increased Program Accountability” and “Regulatory Amendments for the Financial Hardship Program.” Under Informational Items, the agenda included “School Facility Program Application Processing.”  The following is a summary of each agenda item.

Regulatory Amendments for Increased Program Accountability

At its June 5th meeting, the SAB approved a grant agreement template and conforming regulatory amendments. Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) staff indicated that necessary changes would need to be presented to the SAB if the budget trailer bill was enacted (AB 99 was subsequently signed by the Governor). This item seeks SAB approval for the revised template grant agreement. The item was APPROVED with no discussion.

Regulatory Amendments for the Financial Hardship Program

These proposed regulatory amendments would allow districts seeking Financial Hardship assistance to submit a request for funding without a pre-approved Financial Hardship status. This would allow a Financial Hardship approval process by accepting the Form SAB 50-04 when districts are ready to submit, and conducting a Financial Hardship review at the time the application is processed, prior to placement on the Unfunded List. CASH has advocated for this improvement to the Financial Hardship Program for many years and fully supports this proposal. This item was APPROVED with no discussion.

School Facility Program Application Processing

At their June 5th meeting, the SAB directed OPSC staff to begin processing the Applications Received Beyond Bond Authority List, as well as newly submitted applications. In this item, OPSC staff presented information to the SAB on how they will process the projects previously on this list, as well as Approved Applications for new construction and modernization projects received on or after April 1, 2017, that are now on the OPSC workload list. Included in the approval of “Option 1” was the requirement that districts must recalculate their enrollment and SFP eligibility. CASH strongly objects to this action. CASH Vice Chair Julie Arthur (Palm Springs USD) testified that CASH believes that the provisions of “Option 1” are inconsistent with statute, and asked the SAB to revisit the issue. No request to revisit “Option 1” or action was taken on this item because it was not an Action item.

The next SAB meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 23, 2017.

~ CASH Staff

Governor Signs Budget

June 27, 2017

Today the Governor Signed AB 97, the budget bill for FY 2017-18, as well as the related trailer bills to enact policy changes in the budget. Below is an update on a number of key school facility policy issues that are addressed in budget trailer bills.

SB 96: Department of Industrial Relations

Makes changes to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) prevailing wage monitoring program, including:

  • Raises the threshold for the program’s applicability from $1,000 to $25,000 for construction projects and $15,000 for maintenance projects.
  • Increases penalties for contractors and subcontractors who fail to register correctly.
  • Creates new penalties for awarding bodies, including school districts, who would be subject to a fine of $100 per day, up to $10,000.
  • An awarding body determined to be a “willful violator” with two program violations within 12 months could lose state facility funding for one year.
  • Increases the annual contractor registration fee from $300 to $400 and permits a contractor to register for multiple years at a time.

The budget also includes $805,000 in 2017-18 and $759,000 in 2018-19 for positions to educate awarding bodies about their requirements under the law.

AB 111: DSA Filing Fee

Increases Division of the State Architect (DSA) project filing fees for construction or alteration of school buildings. The fee will increase from 0.7% to 1.25% for the first $1 million in construction costs, and from 0.6% to 1.0% for costs in excess of $1 million. If the balance in the Public School Planning, Design, and Construction Review Revolving Fund exceeds six months of expenditures, the fee will automatically decrease.

AB 99: School Facility Program Audits

Includes the School Facility Program (SFP) audit changes, adding state-funded school facility project scope to the local annual K-12 audit. CASH successfully lobbied for amendments to the bill to provide school districts with the flexibility to use capital funds or operational dollars to repay any expenditures deemed ineligible. The original proposal from the Administration would have required automatic payback of audit exceptions using a withholding from the next Proposition 98 apportionment. The new audit provisions apply to SFP projects funded on and after April 1, 2017.

AB 99 & AB 125: Proposition 39 – Encumbrance Date and Program Extension

Includes provisions related to the Proposition 39 energy efficiency program. The bill extends the encumbrance date for projects by 12 months to June 30, 2019. The Legislature is now considering an additional trailer bill that includes the provisions of SB 518 (De Leon) to extend the Proposition 39 program indefinitely. Identical language is reflected in both AB 125 and SB 110, and either bill could move forward. These bills extend the sunset on the Proposition 39 program indefinitely, though future funding is subject to an appropriation in the annual budget process. The bills would establish a new competitive grant framework for allocation of the dollars. The bills would also sweep remaining unallocated funds from the first five years of the program for projects that have not submitted an Energy Expenditure Plan (EEP) by March 1, 2018. These funds would be dispersed as follows:

  • $75 million for a school bus retrofit and replacement program to be administered by the California Energy Commission.
  • $100 million for low- and no-interest Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA) loans.
  • The remainder would be used for competitive grants for K-12 schools in designated tiers.

Passage of AB 125 or SB 110 would make SB 518 obsolete. Budget trailer bills are urgency statutes that are effective immediately upon signature and require only a majority vote to pass, in contrast to a typical urgency bill, which requires a two-thirds vote. Trailer bills are not subject to the June 15 budget bill deadline. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, the author of SB 518, appears very interested in moving this issue through the legislative process via trailer bill.

~ CASH Staff

2017 STEAM Symposium Call for Presenters – Deadline is Friday, June 16, 2017

California STEAM Symposium 2017: December 10-11, 2017 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco

The Symposium is becoming the STEAM Symposium this year, and the thematic strands reflect the importance of braiding together science, technology, engineering, and math with art and design thinking.

The strand, “Supporting STEM/STEAM through 21st Century Learning Environments” offers a unique opportunity for school facilities and education professionals to present new, modernized, or modified STEM/ STEAM school facilities and learning environments. Prospective presenters may consider sharing school designs and practical ideas that enhance one or more STEM/STEAM topics, as well as partnerships with schools and districts that have designed or modified facilities to support STEM and STEAM learning. Presenters can submit proposals now and until Friday, June 16, 2017.

For more information please visit: http://www.stemcalifornia.org/STEM

If you have any questions please contact:

Molly Stitt

Education Programs Consultant

School Facilities & Transportation Services

California Department of Education

mstitt@cde.ca.gov

916-322-6249

SAB Priority Funding Request Due Thursday, June 8, 2017

June 6, 2017

Please be aware that, if your district is on the State Allocation Board’s Unfunded List and eligible for Priority Funding, you must submit your Priority Funding request by 5:00 pm on Thursday, June 8, 2017.

The Priority Funding (PF) process was created to allow projects that receive unfunded approval by the State Allocation Board (SAB) and are placed on the Unfunded List (Lack of AB 55 Loans) to receive an apportionment with accelerated timelines.

Following is the text from the June 5, 2017  State Allocation Board agenda regarding the current Priority Funding filing round:

CURRENT PRIORITY FUNDING FILING ROUND

The priority funding filing period began on May 10, 2017 and will close on June 8, 2017. Priority funding requests with original signatures by an Authorized District Representative must be physically received by the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) before the close of business at 5:00 pm on June 8, 2017. These requests will be valid from July 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017.

Requirements for Participation in Priority Funding

OPSC reminds school districts that the requirements for Participation in the Priority Funding Process are in effect under School Facility Program Regulation Section 1859.90.3. There are two ways for a school district to not participate in the priority funding process as follows:
• Not submit a valid priority funding request in the 30-day filing period, or
• Submit a valid priority funding request but fail to submit a valid Fund Release Authorization (Form SAB 50-05) to request the release of funds after the Board approves an apportionment.
The second time that either of these occurs, the funding for the project will be rescinded without further action by the Board. For additional information, please refer to the Procedures for School Facility Program Funding.

June Facility Planners Update

June 6, 2017

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

  • Proposition 51 Implementation
  • Legislative Update
  • Upcoming Networking Mixers

Click here to download the Update.

~ CASH Staff

SAB Takes Action on Upfront Agreement & Beyond Bond Authority Project List

On Monday, June 5, 2017, the State Allocation Board (SAB) took action on two key policy issues that are critical to the implementation of Proposition 51: a) Regulatory Amendments for Increased Program Accountability (template for Upfront Grant Agreement); and, b) School Facility Program (SFP) Applications Received Beyond Bond Authority List (how to proceed with projects on the Acknowledged List). These proposals were originally scheduled to be adopted at the SAB meeting on April 24, 2017, but the action was deferred to a later date due to concerns with the draft prepared by the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC).

Fourteen CASH members testified during the hearing including Chair Don Ulrich (Clovis USD), Vice Chair Julie Arthur (Palm Springs USD), Immediate Past Chair Jenny Hannah (Kern HSD), and board members Rob Pierce (Elk Grove USD) and Alan Reising (Long Beach USD). The following is a summary of the actions that the SAB took on these agenda items:

Upfront Grant Agreement
The SAB voted to approve the Upfront Grant Agreement and conforming regulatory amendments, approved the projects on Attachment #5 for placement on the Unfunded List (Lack of AB 55 Loans), and exempted these projects from the Grant Agreement requirement. CASH and the education community had advocated for changes to the Grant Agreement, which were incorporated in this approval. These changes include:

  • Changes to the eligible expenditures list to expand eligibility of freezers, refrigerators, and exercise equipment.
  • The option of project-specific guidance letters incorporated by reference into the Grant Agreement – allows districts to achieve certainty on unusual project expenditures, ensuring auditors will allow.
  • The Grant Agreement is required at fund release, not as a condition of apportionment.
  • Projects on the True Unfunded List are exempt; the grant agreement still applies to all projects on the Acknowledged List.

The Grant Agreement as adopted includes a significant policy change by making educational technology, including computers and printers, an ineligible expenditure.

Beyond Bond Authority List
After extensive discussion and testimony from CASH board members and members of the education community, the SAB voted to approve “Option 1” which requires new construction projects on the Acknowledged List to re-justify their eligibility for the enrollment year in which the application was processed by OPSC, without losing their place in line. The biggest policy debate of the evening was whether schools should be required to update eligibility, or if projects would be processed with eligibility at the time of submittal. Projects that would no longer be eligible under updated eligibility have the right to submit an appeal to the SAB.

CASH would like to thank our members for their dedication and commitment to qualifying, approving, and now working to implement Proposition 51.

~ CASH Staff