Message From the Chair – Know Your Number
My time as Chair of the CASH Board of Directors has drawn to a close; this will be my final Message from the Chair. It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve the CASH organization and its members, and I leave with a sense of humble accomplishment and hope for the future. I look forward to being a resource for our incoming Chair, Julie Arthur with Palm Springs USD, as she continues CASH’s important work. I would like to thank my colleagues on the CASH Board who I have served with, as well as each of our members for the honor of serving as your leader these past two years. In addition, I would like to thank the CASH past chairs that have been an invaluable resource to me during the last two years. I would like to use my last Message to reflect on what we have accomplished, as well as looking forward to future challenges for the CASH organization.
The Fight for State Support of School Facilities – From Defense to Offense
It is no secret that the previous Administration questioned what role the state should play, if any, in future funding for school facilities. As a result, CASH has appropriately expended much of its organizational energy on playing defense – placing Proposition 51 on the ballot when the Administration and the Legislature would not, and defending the integrity of the School Facility Program (SFP), when attempts were made to recalculate SFP eligibility and stop accepting SFP applications.
After California voters approved Proposition 51, the previous Administration slow walked the selling of Proposition 51 bonds, and much of my tenure as Chair has been focused on advocating for the sale of Proposition 51 bonds to fund unprocessed New Construction and Modernization SFP applications. To support the sale of bonds, it is very important that every facility leader, Superintendent, and board member understand their funding allocation and to communicate to their legislator how that lack of funding negatively affects our children and teachers. In other words, “know your number.” There is nearly $5 billion in unprocessed New Construction and Modernization SFP applications. The Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) announced at the February 28, 2019 State Allocation Board (SAB) meeting that the Modernization funding has been exhausted.
The good news is that Governor Newsom included $1.5 billion in his first proposed State Budget to begin funding Proposition 51 projects, and CASH will continue to advocate for funding all Proposition 51 projects. In addition, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell introduced AB 48, which is a legislative vehicle for a 2020 state school bond and a larger policy discussion about how to improve the existing School Facility Program. As part of this review and pursuit of improvement, we must include bold goals like a sustainable funding system that provides consistent facility resources to support California’s children and teachers. I look forward to supporting our next Chair as CASH looks to play more offense in 2019 and beyond.
Connecting Quality School Facilities with Student Learning and Success
CASH has always believed that high performance school facilities are an integral part of teaching and learning. There is a growing body of research that shows the connection between quality school facilities and student learning and success. While it is common sense to some, CASH would like to make this connection more explicit and contribute toward this important body of research. This is why during my tenure as Chair we created the California School Facilities Research Institute (CSFRI) to coalesce the most significant research that connects quality school facilities to student learning and community success.
Regional and Technical Trainings
In addition to the importance of state funding and programs for school facilities, and making the connection between school facilities and academic success, it has also been my priority that CASH increase its regional and technical training to ensure that CASH is always focused on assisting school facility and maintenance practitioners, who are the heart of our organization. As building and modernizing schools has become more complicated and subject to more oversight, it is important for CASH to ensure that school facility and maintenance directors are aware of the most recent state requirements and industry best practices. Our leadership programs such as the CASH School Facilities Leadership Academy (CSFLA) and the CASH Maintenance Management Certificate Program (CMMCP), our educational programs at the CASH Annual and Fall Conferences, the Regional Trainings and our monthly workshops ensure that we are meeting the professional needs of our members.
I would like to conclude this Message and my time as Chair by thanking our members for supporting CASH’s efforts to ensure all students and teachers are in facilities that are safe, healthy and contribute to learning. We are where we are by being willing to act. I encourage you to inform and educate your legislative representatives, your school governing board and your constituents how lack of timely Proposition 51 project apportionments hurts your district, and how much a 2020 school bond is needed. Know your number!
~Don Ulrich, Ed.D., CASH Immediate Past Chair