BILL ANALYSIS SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION Gloria Romero, Chair 2009-2010 Regular Session BILL NO: SB 675 AUTHOR: Steinberg AMENDED: As proposed FISCAL COMM: Yes HEARING DATE: April 1, 2009 URGENCY: No CONSULTANT:Kathleen Chavira NOTE : This bill has been double referred to the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Rules Committee. A do pass motion should include a referral to the Senate Rules Committee. SUBJECT : Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Job Training, Career Technical Education, and Dropout Prevention Act SUMMARY This bill would enact the Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Job Training, Career Technical Education, and Dropout Prevention Act of 2010 to provide funds to qualifying entities for construction or reconfiguring facilities to provide program participants with skills and knowledge necessary for successful employment related to clean technology, renewable energy, or energy efficiency. BACKGROUND Proposition 1D, authorized by AB 127 (Nunez and Perata) and approved by the voters in November 2006, provided $7.3 billion for K-12 school facilities, and established the Career Technical Education Facilities Program, providing $500 million to construct or modernize facilities for this purpose. Current law creates the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Fund (PIER) for the purpose of making awards for projects or programs that are not provided for by competitive and regulated markets. The revenue for this fund comes from electrical utility corporations and is available upon appropriation by the SB 675 Page 2 Legislature. ANALYSIS This bill establishes the Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Job Training, Career Technical Education and Dropout Prevention Act of 2010. More specifically it: 1) Establishes the Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Job Training, Career Technical Education and Dropout Prevention fund in the State Treasury to provide competitive grants for the purpose of constructing or reconfiguring new facilities with a useful life expectancy of at least 20 years or the length of bond maturity to provide program participants with skills and knowledge necessary for successful employment related to clean technology, renewable energy, or energy efficiency. 2) Defines various terms in the bill including: a) Council : The Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Job Training, Career Technical Education and Dropout Prevention Council comprised of the Secretaries of the Natural Resources Agency (chair), Labor and Workforce Development, Environmental Protection, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, two members appointed by the Senate Rules Committee and two members appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, as specified. b) Eligible entity : Those eligible to apply for the competitive grants to include a public school serving any of grades 7-12, a California community college, a public entity providing career technical education including a county office of education or school agency joint powers authority, a publicly or investor owned facility, a non-profit organization, a labor organization, a business entity, a state-approved apprenticeship program, a regional collaborative, as specified, the California Conservation Corp or a certified local conservation corp, a public postsecondary educational institution or any SB 675 Page 3 other entity approved by the Council. c) Program participants : Those served by the eligible entities including middle or high school pupils, community college students, job trainees, incumbent workers, members of the California Conservation corps, as specified, or minors or adults under 22 years of age either on probation or participating in programs that include career technical education as an alternative to conviction, incarceration or adjudication, as specified. 3) Outlines various elements of the competitive grants program proposed by the bill. Specifically it: a) Requires the State Allocation Board (SAB) to administer grant applications and to implement the program pursuant to regulations and guidelines established by the Council. b) Requires grants be allocated on a per square foot basis and prohibits any requirement that students be unhoused or that facilities meet any age requirements to receive a grant under the program. c) Establishes a maximum of $3 million per project per eligible entity for new construction grants for either stand-alone projects or as supplements to the per pupil allocation under the existing new construction program. Establishes a maximum of $1.5 million per project per eligible entity for modernization grants for the purpose of reconfiguration and provides that the grant be supplemental to the per pupil allocation provided under the existing modernization program. d) Requires the eligible entity to contribute toward the project on a 50/50 match basis and authorizes the local contribution to come from private industry groups, the school district or a joint powers authority and authorizes the reduction, but not the elimination of the match at the discretion of the Council. SB 675 Page 4 e) Authorizes the repayment of the local contribution over time but prohibits the State Allocation Board (SAB) from waiving the local contribution on any basis. f) Requires that applicants meet any criteria established by the Council and also enter into agreements, as specified, to engage in specified activities related to education, job training, or providing employment and career opportunities to program participants. g) Requires the Council to develop guidelines for awarding the competitive grants, specifies a number of elements to be included in the grant application and requires priority be given to projects serving students in grades 7-12, dedicated to dropout prevention and career technical education, in communities with schools that rank in the bottom three deciles of the Academic Performance Index (API), as specified, in communities with higher than average rates of dropouts, low-income households, or other challenges, as specified, and projects initiated by the California Conservation Corps or a certified local conservation corps. h) Authorizes the Council to use state agency personnel in administering outreach, education, technical assistance, guideline development and grant application review. i) Requires that every proposed activity or project financed be in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, and that real property acquisitions are from willing sellers. j) Authorizes up to 5 percent of funds be allocated for administrative costs of the program. aa) Requires the body awarding a contract for a public works project financed from these funds to adopt and enforce a labor SB 675 Page 5 compliance program, as specified. bb) Requires the chair of the Council to provide for an annual independent audit of expenditures from the fund. 4) Makes fiscal provision for the funding of the grant program. Specifically it: a) Authorizes the Council to incur indebtedness and issue and renew negotiable bonds, notes, debentures or other securities of any kind or class. b) Requires all indebted incurred to be paid solely from moneys from the Public Interest Research Development and Demonstration Fund (PIER) and from funds appropriated by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act for this purpose and requires that proceeds from the sale of these instrument be deposited into the Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Job Training, Career Technical Education and Dropout Prevention fund in the State Treasury. c) Specifies that the funds appropriated by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act for this purpose shall not exceed an unspecified amount. d) Authorizes the Legislature by statute, to authorize the Council to issue bonds in excess of the unspecified amount provided for in the bill. e) Declares that bonds issued do not constitute a debt or liability of the state or any political subdivision of the state other than the Council and that the issuance of bonds under these provisions does not obligate the state or any political subdivision of the state to levy or pledge of any form of taxation or to make any appropriation for their payment. STAFF COMMENTS SB 675 Page 6 1) Further clarification . According to information provided by the author, it is the intent to use funds from the Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research Fund (PIER) to securitize an unspecified amount in bonds to finance the competitive grant program proposed by this bill. Essentially, it is the intent of the author that bonds to support the program created by the bill be backed by the revenues that accrue to the PIER fund. According to the California Energy Commission, its proposed FY 2009/10 budget includes $74.2 million in PIER funds to support approximately 70 positions, operating and baseline technical support contracts and $62.5 million for pass through research, development and demonstration projects. Rather than a statewide general obligation bond, this bill proposes the creation of a revenue backed bond issuance, i.e. bonds backed by the revenue that accrues to the PIER fund as well as appropriations made by the Legislature. 2) Who guarantees repayment of the bonds ? This bill specifically declares that the State bears no financial responsibility for the bonds and has no obligation to levy any taxes or make any appropriation for their payment. The bill further declares that debt or liability would only be incurred by the Council. Staff notes, however, that the Council is comprised of the leaders of various state agencies and representation from the Legislature, all state-affiliated entities. Is it reasonable to assume that the state would face no pressure, both politically and legally, to guarantee repayment of the bonds issued by the Council? What controls exist on the Council to ensure that it does not exceed the capacity of the fund and appropriations to support the debt it issues? 3) PIER Funds . PIER funds are currently used to fund research projects to develop new energy technologies. If enacted these funds would be redirected for the purposes outlined in this bill. Current law restricts the expenditure of these funds for specified purposes from 2007 until 2012. It is unclear whether the purposes outlined in this bill are consistent with the SB 675 Page 7 existing purposes. 4) Council vs. SAB . This bill creates a Council made up of various leaders of state agencies and assigns them a variety of responsibilities relative to the grant program it creates, but assigns no staff to the Council for these purposes. In addition, it assigns responsibility for implementing the program developed by the Council to the State Allocation Board, a policy level body for programs administered by the Office of Public School Construction. Would it make more sense to assign these responsibilities to the SAB and to have the Council act in an advisory capacity relative to the competitive grant program? 5) Gift of public funds ? According to the author's office, it is their intent that eligible entities must enter into agreements with schools or colleges to qualify for grants. However, the bill defines eligible entities to include a number of non-profit and private entities and does not clearly require that the grant recipient be a public school, college or other public entity. In order to ensure that there is no gift of public funds the author may wish to consider restricting eligibility for the grants to public schools serving any of grades 7-12, California community colleges, or other public entities providing career technical education. 6) Prior legislation . This bill is very similar to SB 1672 (Steinberg) which was heard and passed by this committee by a vote of 7-1 in April 2008. Although SB 1672 authorized a statewide obligation bond when heard by this committee, it was subsequently amended and was essentially identical to the bill before this committee today. That bill was ultimately held under submission in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. SUPPORT American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees SB 675 Page 8 Board of Governors, California Community Colleges California Catholic Conference California School Boards Association Long Beach Community College District San Francisco Unified School District State Building and Construction Trades Council of California OPPOSITION None received.