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.
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.
Last November, California’s voters authorized the state to sell $9 billion in school construction bonds (Prop. 51). However, the state has only authorized $400 million in 2017. That’s less than 5 percent of what voters approved and is woefully inadequate.
Some of the projects waiting for funds in Orange and San Diego counties date back to 2013. Further delays would mean that some of these projects may not begin for a few more years.
I stand with school officials, teachers and parents throughout the state in asking the Governor’s administration to act with more urgency in regards to these bonds. Click on the link below to learn more.
Voters approved Proposition 51 last November, authorizing the state to sell $9 billion in school construction bonds. However, the state has only authorized a bond sale for about $400 million in 2017. School officials will rally at the state…