Category Archives: Legislation

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

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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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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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. Continue reading

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

CASH Budget Update: Legislature Approves State Budget & Trailer Bills

June 15, 2017

Today, the Legislature passed AB 97, the budget bill for FY 2017-18, meeting the constitutional deadline to pass an on-time budget by June 15, 2017. The Legislature also passed a number of accompanying trailer bills to implement policy changes in the budget. The budget includes $125.1 billion in General Fund spending, including $9.9 billion in total reserves. This is the largest budget reserve in California’s history and is consistent with the Governor’s priority of preparing for the next economic downturn. The budget will now go to the Governor for his signature, or line item veto, if any.

School Finance Budget Trailer Bill – AB 99

School Facility Audit Language – This bill includes new school facility audit language (commencing with changes to Education Code Section 41024) that requires local auditors to include state funded facility projects in the annual school district audit. The audit language includes references to the new fund release grant agreement adopted at the June 5, 2017 State Allocation Board (SAB) meeting. The audit language also includes language on the use of project savings and the process for repaying state funds audit exceptions.

One-Time Discretionary Funding – This bill includes $876.6 million (one-time Proposition 98) for any purpose, including deferred maintenance and capital outlay. This is approximately $145 per average daily attendance.

Emergency Repair Program – This bill includes language that any unencumbered funds in the School Facilities Emergency Repair Account revert to the Proposition 98 Reversion Account. AB 99 extends this encumbrance.

Budget Trailer Bills AB 111 and SB 96 (Anticipate Approval at the Time of Posting)

Proposition 39 – The date for local encumbrance of these funds increases from June 30, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

DSA Filing Fee – The Legislature passed budget trailer bill AB 111, which 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.

Department of Industrial Relations – The Legislature passed budget trailer bill SB 96, which 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, which would be subject to a fine of up to $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.

Additional OPSC Staffing and Bond Sales – We thank Senator Bates for her comments on lack of Proposition 51 progress; however, the budget agreement does not include any additional staff for the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) nor any proposed increase in the January budget proposal for Proposition 51 state school bond sales.

~ 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