State Allocation Board talks full-day kindergarten program, hears several appeals

9 Jul
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construction site

The State Allocation Board meets monthly to apportion funds to school districts, act on appeals, and adopt policies and regulations. At its June 26 meeting, Office of Public School Construction staff provided updates on the Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program and priority funding apportionments, and three appeals were heard.

Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program update

Lisa Silverman, executive officer of the Office of Public School Construction, reported to the board that the second filing round for Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program closed on May 30. The OPSC received 349 applications from 98 school districts totaling more than $431 million; the second filing round is authorized to apportion $60 million.

Seventy districts filed 261 project applications totaling $324.3 million in the first filing round ending Jan. 31. The board designated $37.5 million for first-round projects.

The enthusiasm over the grant program funds comes as the state, district officials and school board members aim to focus more closely on access to such programs and how they can help narrow opportunity and achievement gaps.

Priority Funding Apportionments

The priority funding process was created to allow projects that receive unfunded approval by the SAB and are placed on the Unfunded List (Lack of AB 55 Loans) to receive an apportionment with accelerated timelines. OPSC staff reported that the current filing round closed on June 6. Local educational agencies should note that if an applicant fails to submit their request in time, the project will receive an “occurrence.” If a project receives two occurrences, the project will be deemed not valid and subject to rescission without further SAB action. Therefore, if a project is ready for fund release, applicants should make sure to submit their request as soon as possible.

Career Technical Education Facilities Program Stakeholder Meeting

In place of the July 24 SAB meeting, the OPSC will host a CTEFP stakeholder meeting to review the current funding order and discuss options for changing the order for future filing rounds. The meeting will be held at the State Capitol on July 24 from 1-3 p.m. in Room 4202.

Appeals

The SAB heard three appeals pertaining to Financial Hardship at its meeting. The Financial Hardship program provides financial assistance if a district is unable to fund all or a portion of its matching share requirement.

The first two appeals, jointly presented by Farmersville Unified School District and San Bernardino City Unified, made a request to retain the savings from their projects, funded with Financial Hardship assistance, and apply those savings on high-priority capital outlay needs throughout their respective districts. Much of the attention during the hearing focused on Regulation Section 1859.103.

After much discussion and debate, neither appeal received a motion to move the request and subsequently both failed.

The third appeal (from Biggs Unified in Butte County) sought board approval of the district’s financial hardship status based upon “other evidence of reasonable effort as approved by the State Allocation Board.”

As part of the financial review, a school district must demonstrate it is levying the developer fees at the time of the request and complying with one of five other requirements. One of those requirements includes “other evidence of reasonable effort” to garner additional funding to provide the school district’s matching requirement. After a brief discussion, the SAB approved the request.

School Facility Grant Approvals

The board approved Unfunded Approvals totaling $124 million in new construction requests and $29 million in modernization requests.

The next SAB meeting will be Aug. 28.

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