BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                             Alan Lowenthal, Chair
                           2011-2012 Regular Session
                                        

          BILL NO:       SB 132
          AUTHOR:        Lowenthal
          AMENDED:       April 27, 2011
          FISCAL COMM:   Yes            HEARING DATE:  May 4, 2011
          URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT:Kathleen Chavira

           SUBJECT  :  School facilities and state planning priorities.
          
           SUMMARY  

          This bill requires the State Allocation Board (SAB) to 
          review and revise, as necessary, its guideline, rules, 
          regulations, procedures, and policies, and the California 
          Department of Education (CDE) to modify site, building, and 
          design standards to ensure that K-12 school facility 
          construction projects reflect the state planning 
          priorities, and makes other conforming changes. 

           BACKGROUND  

          Current law (Government Code Section 65041.1) establishes 
          state planning priorities intended to promote equity, 
          strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and 
          promote public health and safety in the state. The specific 
          priorities are to:

        Promote infill development and equity by rehabilitating, 
          maintaining, and 
               improving existing infrastructure that supports infill 
               development and appropriate reuse and redevelopment of 
               previously developed, underutilized land that is 
               presently served by transit, streets, water, sewer, 
               and other essential services, particularly in 
               underserved areas, and to preserving cultural and 
               historic resources.

        Protect environmental and agricultural resources by 
          protecting, 
               preserving, and enhancing the state's most valuable 
               natural resources, including working landscapes such 
               as farm, range, and forest lands, natural lands such 




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               as wetlands, watersheds, wildlife habitats, and other 
               wildlands, recreation lands such as parks, trails, 
               greenbelts, and other open space, and landscapes with 
               locally unique features and areas identified by the 
               state as deserving special protection.

        Encourage efficient development patterns by ensuring that 
          infrastructure:

                  o         Uses land efficiently.
                  o         Is built adjacent to existing developed 
                    areas.
                  o         Is located in an area appropriately 
                    planned for growth.
                  o         Is served by adequate transportation and 
                    other essential utilities and services.
                  o         Minimizes ongoing costs to taxpayers.

          Current law also requires the Governor, in conjunction with 
          the annual budget, to submit a proposed five-year 
          infrastructure plan to the Legislature and specifies that 
          such a plan identify new, rehabilitated, modernized, 
          improved, or renovated infrastructure requested by state 
          agencies. Among other things, the report must also include 
          the criteria and priorities used to identify and select 
          state agency requested infrastructure (which must be 
          consistent with state planning priorities) that it proposes 
          to fund.  (Government Code  13100-13104)

          Current law requires the CDE to, among other things, 
          develop standards for site selection and establish 
          standards to ensure that design and construction of school 
          facilities are educationally appropriate and promote school 
          safety.   Current law prohibits the apportionment of funds 
          to school districts for school construction projects 
          unless, among other things, the school district has 
          obtained written approval of the CDE that site selection 
          and building plans and specifications comply with the 
          adopted standards. (Education Code  17251)

          Current law also requires that, prior to commencing 
          acquisition of property for a new schoolsite or as an 
          addition to an existing schoolsite, the local school 
          district governing board must, at a public hearing, 
          evaluate the property using the site selection standards 
          established by the California Department of Education. 




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          (Education Code  17211)

           ANALYSIS
           
           This bill  :

          1)   Requires that, by July 1, 2012, the State Allocation 
               Board review and revise, as necessary, its guidelines, 
               rules, regulations, procedures and policies for school 
               construction and modernization to ensure that they 
               reflect specified state planning priorities. 
               (Government Code  65041.1)

          2)   Requires that, prior to commencing acquisition of real 
               property for a new school site or adding to an 
               existing schoolsite, the local school district 
               governing board consider whether the new site or 
               addition reflect the state planning priorities.

          3)   Requires that the CDE developed standards for site 
               selection, design and construction for use by school 
               districts reflect the state planning priorities.

          4)   Expands the content of the five year infrastructure 
               plan, which the Governor is required to submit to the 
               Legislature annually, to include criteria and 
               priorities used to identify and select infrastructure 
               the Governor proposes to fund for purposes of K-12 
               infrastructure needs.

          5)   Makes other technical and conforming changes.

          6)   Makes related findings and declarations.

           STAFF COMMENTS  

           1)   Need for the bill  .  According to the author, school 
               quality and location affects local land use and 
               transportation patterns, community vitality, economic 
               development and student outcomes.  Unfortunately, 
               schools are typically absent from 
               sustainability-oriented infrastructure and policy 
               discussions.  Many state school facility policies are 
               not structured to support broader sustainable 
               development objectives.  This bill will ensure the 
               state's school facility construction investment 




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               reflects the state planning priorities.

           2)   Changes midstream  ?  This bill requires the SAB to 
               review and revise, as necessary, guidelines, rules, 
               regulations procedures, and policies for school 
               construction and modernization by July 1 2012. There 
               are currently a number of school facility construction 
               projects "in the pipeline" awaiting funding from the 
               sale of currently authorized bonds. Is it the intent 
               that changes to policies guidelines, rules, 
               regulations, procedures and policies impact these 
               projects? Should implementation of any changes be 
               applicable to new projects only? 

           3)   Authority to select infrastructure projects  .  This 
               bill expands the contents of the five year 
               infrastructure plan, which the Governor is required to 
               submit to the Legislature annually, to include 
               criteria and priorities used to identify and select 
               infrastructure the Governor proposes to fund for 
               purposes of 
               K-12 infrastructure needs. 

               Traditionally, the Governor has played a role in 
               identifying broad funding needs and in shaping 
               programs that meet specific policy objectives such as 
               the provision of career technical education facilities 
               and charter school facilities. However, the Governor 
               does not have the ability to identify and select which 
               K-12 infrastructure projects are to be funded, as this 
               authority rests with the State Allocation Board and 
               the California Department of Education, two entities 
               that act independent of the Governor. 

               Staff recommends that Section 4 of the bill be amended 
               to restore current law. Staff further recommends the 
               bill be amended to require that the infrastructure 
               report include information on the criteria that the 
               CDE and SAB use, consistent with the state planning 
               priorities, to identify K-12 infrastructure projects 
               to be funded.

           SUPPORT  

          California Advocacy Committee of the United States Green 
          Building Council




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          California Farm Bureau Federation
          Los Angeles Unified School District
          Natural Resources Defense Council

           OPPOSITION

           None received on this version.