April 25, 2017
“A school building is more than a physical structure providing housing, light, heat, and shelter from the elements; it is the expression of the community’s commitment to education.”
– Donald Leu
It is my honor to have been chosen to lead the CASH organization at this critical and exciting time. I would like to thank the CASH Board for showing their faith in me, and particularly our outgoing chair Jenny Hannah. We all know Jenny as a kind and compassionate leader, and we have also learned that she can be relentless in the pursuit of the issue that is the foundation of our organization: that the state of California must be a partner in providing resources for communities to build and maintain schools. Her leadership and effort during the Proposition 51 campaign contributed significantly to its success. Thank you, Jenny, for working in the best interests of the students and teachers of California. You made Middle Earth proud.
I have been with Clovis USD for 32 years, 24 of those were as a teacher, coach, and principal, before moving into the facilities realm nine years ago. I bring my experience as an educator and the current Assistant Superintendent of Facility Services with me as I begin to step into this new role as Chair. I also intend to rely on our Board of Directors and Past Chairs for their expertise. CASH is and will continue to be involved in all aspects of school facility policy. As your Chair, I would like to advance the organization in three particular areas:
- Timely Implementation of Proposition 51
Our goals for 2017 are: process all of the applications in OPSC; fund all of the current unfunded projects by September; fund current and any new backlog of applications by than July 1, 2018; and move to monthly apportionments to avoid future backlogs. We will work with the Governor, Legislature, state agencies, educational stakeholders, and school districts to ensure that Proposition 51 funds are available to fund needed New Construction and Modernization projects. We look forward to working with the Governor to refine his proposal to increase School Facility Program (SFP) accountability and efficiency, as well as on developing solutions to specific implementation issues such as sufficient state agency staffing and resources to process the anticipated increase in applications to the SFP.
- Providing Increased Training Opportunities for CASH Members
If we are to serve every child in every school district, training and outreach for our members must continue to be a top priority for our organization. This year, and for this reason, we have created the Regional Training Course Series, a three-session training program covering school facilities planning, financing, and construction in California.
We proudly add this course to our well-rounded offerings of annual conferences, monthly workshops, and academy/certificate programs.
- Advancing Quality Facilities because of the Positive Impacts on Student Learning
Over these next few years, and into the future, we will continue to focus on Next Generation learning environments. I am excited to announce the creation of the California School Facilities Research Institute. This non-profit will provide resources and spearhead important industry research on the direct correlation between quality school facilities, student success, and successful communities.
NextGen Spring Symposium
Our work in the three aforementioned areas will be evident at the 2017 NextGen Spring Symposium, Reshaping the Physical School Environment to Accelerate Student Learning and Engagement, will be held on May 16 and 17 in Sacramento. Plan to join us for a tour of Washington Elementary School, a STEAM Academy, and an examination of case studies that demonstrate how reshaping the learning environment has enhanced instruction and learning.
I invite you to attend and to also invite school site educators from your area and district to participate. With your involvement, I know the CASH organization will continue to be successful in advocating for quality school facilities for all of California’s children.
~ Don Ulrich, Chair