Category Archives: Proposition 51

Opinion: State Must Fulfill Voter Mandate to Fund School Construction

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.

Continue reading

State Allocation Board Approves $443.6 Million in Projects on the Unfunded List

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.

~ 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.

Continue reading

Senator Pat Bates on Selling State Bonds for Schools

Following is a Facebook post from Senator Pat Bates.

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.

Why is state being so stingy on school bonds?

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…

sacbee.com

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

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