November 26, 2013
Following is the summary write-up of the 11/25/13 SAB Program Review Subcommittee.
SAB Program Review Subcommittee
Proposed Recommendations to the State Allocation Board
November 25, 2013
On Monday, November 25, the SAB Program Review Subcommittee met to review its proposed recommendations to the State Allocation Board (SAB). This was the last Subcommittee meeting scheduled before the recommendations are expected to be presented to the full SAB in January, at which time Assembly Member Buchanan will ask the SAB to accept the report.
Below is a list of the areas of concern and the proposed solutions included in the recommendations document as prepared by OPSC. Any deviations from the printed agenda agreed to by the Subcommittee are noted in italics. The report is intended to identify areas where there was clear consensus, with the exception of Esteban Almanza (DGS), who abstained from all recommendations as the Administration has not taken an official position on a future bond. Additional detail and background information for each item is included in the Subcommittee agenda, and it will also be included in the report that goes before the SAB.
New Construction Eligibility
1. Baseline eligibility information for new construction is outdated.
Require all districts to re-establish the new construction eligibility baseline to be eligible to receive funding under a new bond.
2. The current program model does not allow for flexibility in designing different types of learning areas.
Align the SFP Regulations and the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 definition of a classroom for purposes of establishing a school district’s Gross Classroom Inventory and providing new construction funding.
The definition of a classroom should be both flexible and structured in a way to hold districts accountable for local decisions for purposes of future funding requests.
New Construction Funding – Portable Classrooms
New construction funds are being used to pay for portable classrooms that are eligible for modernization funding at 20 years versus 30 years for stick built construction and often require replacement rather than modernization.
Disallow the use of new construction grants for the purpose of constructing portable classrooms (as defined below).
Education Code Section 17070.15(j) states, “Portable classroom” means a classroom building of one or more stories that is designed and constructed to be relocatable and transportable over public streets, and with respect to a single story portable classroom, is designed and constructed for relocation without the separation of the roof or floor from the building and when measured at the most exterior walls, has a floor area not in excess of 2,000 square feet.
New Construction Funding – Supplemental Grants
The current program structure is complex, in part, because there are many supplemental or “add on” grants in addition to the base per pupil grant amount.
Combine supplemental grant amounts for fire alarms and fire sprinklers with the new construction base grant.
1. Modernization eligibility is determined by the age of the buildings and the current enrollment of the site, as opposed to the capacity of the classrooms.
Modernization eligibility should generally be calculated based on the capacity of the facilities on the site that are of modernization age, provided that enrollment at the site is at some threshold amount of the capacity (thresholds suggested were between 80 and 90 percent).
2. Baseline eligibility information for modernization is outdated and/or not available.
Require all districts to re-establish the modernization eligibility baseline at each site in order to be eligible to receive funding under a new bond.
Modernization Funding – Portable Classrooms
Bond funds with a 30 year repayment obligation are being used to modernize portable classrooms that become eligible at 20 years and the portables may not have a 20-25 year lifespan.
Incentivize the replacement of existing portable classrooms by limiting the use of modernization grants generated by portable buildings to the replacement of existing portable classrooms with permanent construction and provide funding equal to that of new construction dollars.
Modernization Funding – Supplemental Grants
The current program structure is complex in part because there are many supplemental or “add on” grants in addition to the base per pupil grant amount.
Combine supplemental grants for fire alarms into the modernization base grant.
Consolidating Special Programs
The SFP currently includes multiple special programs that have separate allocations of bond authority. Keeping this mechanism for certain programs may be of value, but unused bond authority that becomes “trapped” is an issue. In addition, multiple special programs add complexity to the SFP.
- Maintain allocations of bond authority separate from new construction and modernization for the following programs under a new bond with a stipulation that after a specified amount of time the authority could be transferred to another program by vote of the Board:
- Career Technical Education Facilities Program (CTE)
- Joint Use Program (JU)
- High Performance Incentive Grant (HPI)
- Provide funding for qualifying Seismic Mitigation projects from new construction or modernization authority, as applicable under a new bond.
- Continue the Charter School Facilities Program as a separate special program, with no option for the Board to transfer this bond authority to other programs.
- If incentives for replacing portable facilities of modernization age with permanent facilities are provided in a new bond, do not continue the Overcrowding Relief Grant (ORG) program by allocating additional bond authority.
- Since the last approved bond did not provide funding for the Critically Overcrowded Schools (COS) program, and remaining COS authority from Propositions 47 and 55 have been transferred to new construction, do not continue the COS program under a new bond.
Statewide School Facilities Inventory
California does not track the number of schools and classrooms available for use.
A statewide school facilities inventory database for all K-12 public schools in California should be established.
School Site Information
- CDS Code – County, District, School Basic Identifier
- School Name
- School Location (street address, city)
- School Type: Elementary, Middle, High, other (Continuation, etc.)
- Area of Site (acres)
- Number of Buildings on Site
- Total Area of All Buildings on Site (square feet)
- Status – Open, Closed, Leased, Surplus, other
- Site Energy Use
Individua lBuilding Information
- Building name or numeric designation – “Jones Hall” “G Building” “Building 1”
- Building Use – Classrooms, Library, Admin, Gym, Multi-purpose, Toilets, etc.
- Building Area (square feet)
- Number of stories
- Year Built
- Number of Classrooms/Teaching Stations
- Grade Levels
- Type of Construction
Financial Hardship Program
1. The current criteria to qualify for financial hardship assistance allow for districts to receive funds without first using other local options. This may lead to inequities across districts. The financial hardship program should be structured so that it is available after all other options for funding have been exhausted.
- Review the requirements/criteria of the Financial Hardship program to ensure it provides funds only after other options have been exhausted.
- Consider changing the criteria for the financial hardship program by increasing the level of bonded indebtedness a school district must reach before qualifying for financial hardship status to 100%, but in doing so, consider whether 100% is practical and reasonable
2. Not all projects that receive design and site acquisition funds in advance of having a full construction project move forward and result in the construction of facilities.
Review the requirements of the Financial Hardship program to ensure the following:
- Projects that receive funds move forward to construction and completion.
Kathleen Moore indicated that she is not in consensus on this item, stating that it is not practical to expect all projects will move forward to construction and completion. It appears staff will review this feedback and potentially develop alternate language for consideration.
County Offices of Education
1. Districts still have an obligation to house students served by the COE, but the current program does not provide mechanisms for districts to take financial responsibility. This structure can lead to lack of coordination between districts and COEs which may result in special needs students not being housed in the least restrictive environment possible.
- A future bond program should include policy which requires full coordination between school districts and COEs in developing facilities plans to meet the requirements of special needs students-including integrating special needs students into campuses in the least restrictive environment possible.
- For those programs where districts and COEs have shared responsibility for the students, a future bond program should incorporate requirements that districts who are members of a multi-district SELPA have the same obligation as a single district SELPA to provide facilities funding for the students that they are responsible for, even if the educational program is provided by the COE.
2. The current program uses the same loading standard for community day students as other K-12 students, but COEs load the classes with fewer students due to the unique needs of this student population.
The loading standards for community day school classrooms should be more closely aligned with how COEs are loading the classrooms now.
Kathleen Moore asked that loading standards also be adjusted for continuation high schools, which was friendly to the Subcommittee members.
Future School Facility Needs
What are the future new construction and modernization funding needs for the School Facility Program?
The Subcommittee discussed various methodologies for characterizing the amount of funding needed for a future bond.
See the agenda item for more detail on the various methodologies. Assembly Member Buchanan asked that the item be updated to explicitly state that there is a need for a new statewide school bond.
Additional Item – Maintenance
During the course of the Subcommittee’s conversation, members asked that a level of effort for maintenance be required for participation in the State program. Staff will develop language for consideration.