On Tuesday, November 6, California voters elected Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom as the next Governor of California. CASH looks forward to working with the new Administration who we hope will be more supportive of school facilities than Governor Brown. As far as the Legislature, the 2017-2018 Legislative Session adjourned for final recess on August 31, and the new two-year Session will begin officially on December 3 with the swearing in of newly elected members of the Legislature.
Proposition 51 – 2020 School Bond and Litigation
CASH believes that every student and teacher has a right to a safe, clean and quality classroom, and that the state has an obligation to support public education including school facilities and maintenance. As we look to begin working with the new Administration, CASH’s core principals have not changed: 1) Ensuring ALL students and teachers have access to safe, clean, quality classrooms to support a 21st Century education and 2) Ensuring ALL schools have access to adequate capital and maintenance funding.
CASH believes that every student deserves a safe and secure school no matter where they live or their socioeconomic background. As part of this conversation, we will explore options for a sustainable, stable, and restricted source of capital and maintenance funding. This is the reason CASH sponsored Proposition 51, continues to advocate for the sale of Proposition 51 bonds to fund projects that are approved and await state funding, and successfully pushed back against a proposal to essentially eliminate the School Facility Program. We are beginning to build support for a 2020 statewide school bond. We will work with our 2020 State School Bond Coalition, the Legislature, and the next Administration to introduce, enact, and pass School Facility Program reforms and authorization for a 2020 bond and a 2024 bond to be placed on statewide ballots.
To help support our efforts and achieve our goals, CASH leadership has taken another bold action – CASH and three school districts have initiated litigation to require the State of California to comply with the law regarding school facility state matching funds. Governor Brown, the Director of Finance, and the State Allocation Board are named in the suit. CASH has also initiated litigation to require the State of California to comply with the regulations regarding allowing school district appeals to the State Allocation Board. The Department of Finance, the State Allocation Board, and the Office of Public School Construction are named in the suit. These actions were taken in order to preserve the integrity of Proposition 51, uphold state law, and enforce the will of the people.
CASH Advocacy Wrap-Up 2018
The Legislature adjourned on August 31st and concluded its business for 2018. As always, the CASH advocacy team played both offense and defense on bills that would impact the school facilities community, including bills on risk and liability in contracting, school safety and resiliency and climate issues. In addition to legislation in 2018, CASH formed the Repair Our Schools Now Coalition, a grassroots campaign to include Proposition 51 bond sales in the State Budget. The Senate and Assembly each approved $1.5 billion for this purpose but, unfortunately, the final version of the approved State Budget reflected the Governor’s original proposal of $640 million. CASH advocates also successfully pushed back against a proposal by the Office of Public School Construction to cease accepting funding applications once bond authority is exhausted, which would have ended the School Facility Program as we know it.
CASH Fall Conference
The 2018 Fall Conference was attended by nearly 400 school facility professionals. General Sessions included a robust legislative and regulatory update, as well as State Agency presentations. The Fall Conference was preceded by the Pre-Conference Workshop, School Facility Mitigation Agreements, Use of Assets, and Delivery Methods, which was attended by more than 100 members. Highlights of the Fall Conference included the Economic Update by economist Mark Schniepp, networking during the lunch and reception, and presentations by participants in the current classes of the CASH School Facilities Leadership Academy (CSFLA) and the CASH Maintenance Management Certificate Program (CMMCP).
~Don Ulrich, Ed.D., CASH Chair