December 6, 2017
Today the State Allocation Board (Board) met to take action on a number of items, including providing Unfunded Approvals to projects worth $164 million. The Board also approved two district appeals related to Facility Hardship applications at Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District and Maple Elementary School District.
Unfunded Approvals & Priority Funding Requests
Projects receiving an Unfunded Approval at today’s meeting are now on the Unfunded Approvals (Lack of AB 55 Loans) list and may participate in Priority Funding Round 14. Requests to participate in this Priority Funding round are due to the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) by tomorrow, Thursday, December 7, 2017. Priority Funding requests submitted duringRound 14 are eligible for an apportionment from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018.
New Construction Eligibility Update Regulations
Today’s meeting was most notable for a last-minute change that removed a significant School Facility Program (SFP) regulation package from the agenda. Initially, the Board was scheduled to take up a regulations proposal to formalize changes in the new construction funding application process adopted by the SAB on June 5, 2017. That action radically altered the SFP by requiring new construction projects to submit eligibility updates for the enrollment year in which OPSC processes the application, rather than using the eligibility in place at the time of application submittal. CASH opposed this policy change when it was first approved by the Board and challenged it by filing an underground regulation petition with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL). OAL declined to take up CASH’s petition but did not opine on the petition’s merits.
CASH opposed the regulation package originallyscheduled for today’s Board meeting on the following grounds:
- There is no statutory basis for the requirement to update new construction eligibility for enrollment figures in the year in which OPSC processes the application.
- The policy violates the statutory language approved by voters in Proposition 51.
- The policy harms the ability of districts to plan new construction projects due to uncertainty of when their project might be processed and what their eligibility might be.
- Wealthy school districts can continue their projects while poor districts must wait for their application to be processed at an uncertain future time.
Soon after registering this opposition with members of the SAB, CASH received word that the regulation package had been pulled from the December 6, 2017 agenda and would not be heard at today’s meeting. It is important to note that OPSC has indicated they do not need a regulation to implement the new construction eligibility update requirements for projects that were submitted to OPSC prior to June 6, 2017.
Small School District Eligibility
The regulation package proposed for consideration today also included a component intended to give small school districts some certainty regarding the option to request a three-year lock on new construction eligibility. The proposal would have allowed small school districts to request a three-year lock using enrollment figures from the year in which the eligibility application was submitted, if the district made the request prior to OPSC’s notification that it would soon begin to process the funding application. Districts that do not submit an eligibility application prior to OPSC notification of processing would be required to update enrollment figures for the year in which OPSC processes the application. Because this issue was included in the same item as the general new construction eligibility update regulations identified above, it was also removed from today’s agenda.
The next State Allocation Board meeting is tentatively scheduled for January 24, 2018.
~ Rebekah Cearley