February 2, 2017 | CASH would like to thank Julia Stein and Andrew Homer from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP for the following article.
State Water Resources Control Board Takes Action to Improve School Drinking Water Quality
Given increased attention nationwide on drinking water quality, particularly in public schools, the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) has recently announced two initiatives of particular interest to school districts, to further improve and safeguard drinking water quality.
The first comes in the form of a mandate to community water systems to provide free testing of school drinking water for lead upon request. The second is the establishment of a new grant program to improve drinking water quality in public schools.
The Assembly Education Committee has scheduled an informational hearing on the School Facility Program. The hearing is set for Wednesday, February 8 at 1:30 p.m. in State Capitol Room 4202. Specifically, the topic of the hearing is: “School Facilities: Streamlining the School Siting and School Funding Processes.”
CASH is pleased to have the opportunity to engage with key policymakers, including Assembly Education Committee Chair Patrick O’Donnell, on this important issue.
The Governor’s Office of Planning & Research (OPR) may be reaching out to you if you have not yet submitted an energy expenditure plans (EEP) under the Proposition 39 program. As you know the final deadline for submitting an EEP under the five-year program is August 1, 2017. The Governor’s Office wants to encourage and assist schools that have not yet submitted their plans for funding approval. This outreach to CASH and School Energy Coalition (SEC) members are the result of SEC meetings with the Governor’s Office to assist LEAs – especially smaller schools and charters – that may be having difficulty moving forward to access funding and we appreciate their interest and outreach. find out more about SEC’s advocacy efforts at our upcoming meeting during the CASH Annual Conference at 2:15 p.m. on Monday, February 20, 2017, in Room 315 of the Sacramento Convention Center. You do not have to be a SEC member to attend. See you there!
The minutes from the December 5, 2016, meeting were approved unanimously.
Executive Officer Statement
Lisa Silverman provided updates on the following:
Charter Round Opening: A new Charter School Facilities Program (CSFP) round will open and applications will be accepted from February 6, 2017, through June 5, 2017. $500 million is now available with the passage of Proposition 51. Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) staff will be providing a webinar and workshops on the CSFP application process.
August 2016 Priority Funding Apportionments: On August 17, 2016, $78.7 million was approved for 20 projects from 14 school districts. 19 projects were required to submit Form SAB 50-05 by November 15, 2016; two projects worth $932,070.50 did not. They were returned to the Unfunded List (Lack of AB 55 Loans) and given a new Unfunded Approval date of November 15, 2016.
State Budget 2017-18 Update: Governor Addresses Proposition 51 Implementation
The Governor’s Budget proposal contains good news for school facilities, as well as some challenges. With regard to the implementation of Proposition 51, the Governor stated his willingness to work to have Proposition 51 funds flow to school projects. The challenges will be implementing the audit provisions that Governor Brown wants before allowing Proposition 51 funds to flow. Concerning Proposition 39 energy efficiency funding, the Governor proposes $422.9 million for K-12 school districts and charter schools, which is a significant investment.
CASH has always supported accountability for spending taxpayer funds. We have a stated policy that every public funded school project should be audited. If there are changes needed, we look forward to making those changes as soon as possible. We believe the audit guide concern can be addressed immediately without legislation because the guide is developed by the State Controller, Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Director of the Department of Finance. If legislation is needed to have a long-term statutory authority, CASH believes that can be done through a budget trailer bill. We will have more updates in the coming days as more details become available. Below is a summary of the proposed State Budget relating to school facilities.
CASH signed on to a coalition letter regarding DPR regulations with the Association of California School Administrators, California School Boards Association, and the Small School Districts’ Association.