December 4, 2015
It has been an exciting few months as Chair of the organization. All of the energy and excitement surrounding qualifying the State School Bond Initiative for the November 7, 2016, general election ballot, and now transitioning to campaigning, has reminded me that C.A.S.H. has the strength of our members to make the bond measure succeed.
The campaign to pass the State School Bond has officially begun. C.A.S.H. believes that the State of California has a Constitutional obligation to ensure all students have access to adequate school facilities, and that the School Facility Program (SFP) has been an effective state/local partnership. The State School Bond initiative will continue the School Facility Program and meet the state’s obligation to fund school facilities.
I never doubt our ability, but as we have moved away from this excitement of qualifying, I have noticed a little complacency in our membership. I believe it is because we are all confident that we will succeed in passing the Bond. Complacency could sabotage our efforts. We cannot expect to be successful without a financial commitment from all of our members.
It is up to us to see this through to the end. We don’t want to see the State program dissolve under our watch. Your contribution of $25, $50, or $100 per month, will go a long way for our campaign. If you are able to make a personal contribution toward the 2016 State School Bond campaign, please visit the C.A.S.H. Issues Committee website.
In addition to making contributions to the campaign, we are also asking you to adopt a school board resolution supporting the initiative. Demonstrating significant school district support is critical to our success. We have prepared a sample resolution for your use. Please send your completed resolutions to C.A.S.H. staff member Aileen Dalen, firstname.lastname@example.org.
2015 Legislative Wrap Up
The Legislature and Governor have concluded their business for the year, so this is the perfect time to review what C.A.S.H. faced on the legislative front in 2015. (In case you missed them, C.A.S.H. staff posted the results of legislation C.A.S.H. was involved in this year, C.A.S.H. Register/October 13, 2015, and provided a detailed report at the C.A.S.H. Fall Conference.) Here is the summary of our 2015 legislative year:
Key Issue Areas
The primary bills C.A.S.H. followed and engaged on were in the specific areas of:
- Construction Process (AB 219 – Concrete Delivery)
- Bond Accountability and Use of Funds (AB 882 – Limit use of Prop. 39 funds for portable electronic devices)
- Water (SB 334 – Clean Drinking Water)
- Environmental/Toxics (SB 47 – Limit use of artificial turf)
- Energy Efficiency (SB 350 – Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions)
- School Safety (AB 677 – Interior Door Locks).
C.A.S.H. had a very successful year working with bill authors and coalitions to seek amendments that improved, and where necessary killed, proposals that would have cost schools money and increased regulation.
Key Issue: Skilled Workforce
C.A.S.H. also engaged on the multiple skilled workforce bills that were introduced this year, including:
- AB 566 – Lease-Leaseback
- AB 1358 – Design-Build
- AB 1185 – LAUSD Best Value
All aimed to ensure a skilled workforce on school construction projects and were signed by the Governor. While this approach to ensuring a skilled workforce will likely continue, concerns exist about the availability of appropriate apprentices and journey persons to complete school construction jobs across the state.
Maintenance and Operations
In addition to the key construction, bidding process and environmental issues, 2015 also saw the approval of the Routine Restricted Maintenance Account (RRMA) Phase-In, which significantly reduces state funding dedicated to school maintenance (AB 104 – Education Budget Trailer Bill). C.A.S.H. was the only statewide education organization to oppose this proposal. The State Budget also included funding for approved Emergency Repair Program (ERP) projects, which fulfills the State’s obligation under the Williams Settlement to provide $800 billion for emergency health and safety projects.
We anticipate many of these same issues to be in play in 2016, and may include more legislation on water, climate change, contracting and construction delivery, and skilled workforce. Perhaps the biggest question for next year, however, is whether or not the Administration or members of the Legislature will introduce a bill to streamline the existing School Facility Program (SFP).
C.A.S.H. Fall Conference Highlights
The Fall Conference was a huge success! It started with the pre-conference workshop, Planning and Financing Your Future School Facility Program. More than 100 attendees learned about and discussed contracting, delivery methods, local bonds, community relations, navigating state agencies, and using consultants. Thank you to our speakers for providing their expertise at the workshop.
The Fall Conference had nearly 300 attendees, a 20 percent increase over last year. While the primary theme for the Conference was our State School Bond, other topics included: community relations and managing public perception, water management in schools, contracting and delivery methods, financing, state agency and legislative updates. Thank you to all of the Fall Conference speakers who shared their time with us at the Conference.
Our lunch keynote speaker Tony Russo, Russo Miller & Associates, is one of the key members of the State School Bond team. He spoke of the pivot from signature gathering to campaigning for approval, coalition building, earned media, web and social media, and fundraising to ensure we have adequate resources to be successful. He addressed challenges we may face, pointing out the many other initiatives on the November 2016 ballot, some of which compete with our Bond initiative, including multiple Proposition 30 extensions, property and tobacco tax increases, and an oil severance tax, to name a few. He also indicated that polling shows strong public support for the initiative (63% “Yes”), and that more polling will be done in early 2016.
For more information about the Fall Conference and to download the session handouts, please visit the C.A.S.H. website, www.cashnet.org.
I look forward to communicating with you about the State School Bond, Annual Conference and other emerging hot topics in my next quarterly message.
~ Jenny Hannah, Chair