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 by April 4, 2018, so we can start pushing for the State to honor the voters’ will.
Contact Your Representative and Urge Them to Sell Proposition 51 Bonds Now
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. Continue reading →
As a follow up to our Sell Bonds Press Conference, please see an opinion piece written by former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan and Lisa Gonzales, President of the Association for California School Administrators for the Bay Area News Group.
~ CASH Staff
Opinion: State Must Fulfill Voter Mandate to Fund School Construction
By JOAN BUCHANAN and LISA GONZALES |
Research shows that school facilities have a significant, positive impact on school culture, academic performance, student attendance, and teacher retention and job satisfaction.
Students need facilities that, for example, have working air-conditioning, upgraded security and electrical systems, and modern classroom infrastructure that supports technology.
For school districts to meet those needs, school districts partner with the state to fund major rehabilitation projects and build new schools where needed. But today there is more than a $2 billion backlog of school construction project applications that have been submitted to the state and are awaiting action.
To understand how the funding works: School districts collect developer fees, pass local school facilities bonds and then apply to the state for matching state grant funds. Periodically, voters choose to replenish the fund that provides the state matching grants through passage of a statewide school bond initiative.
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.
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.
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.