BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 132
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   July 6, 2011

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Julia Brownley, Chair
                    SB 132 (Lowenthal) - As Amended:  May 11, 2011

           SENATE VOTE  :   26-11
           
          SUBJECT  :   School facilities: state planning priorities

           SUMMARY  :  Requires the State Allocation Board (SAB), the 
          California Department of Education (CDE), and local governing 
          boards to consider state planning priorities in the construction 
          and modernization of school facilities.  Specifically,  this 
          bill  :   

          1)Finds and declares the following:

             a)   State planning priorities are intended to promote 
               equity, strengthen the economy, protect the environment, 
               and promote public health and safety.
             b)   The quality and location of schools affect local land 
               use and transportation patterns, community vitality, 
               economic development and pupil outcomes.  
             c)   The state makes a significant investment in the 
               construction and modernization of school facilities and to 
               ensure that this investment is consistent with state 
               infrastructure goals, it is essential that the state school 
               facility construction investment reflect state planning 
               priorities.  

          2)Requires, on or before July 1, 2012, the SAB to review the 
            guidelines, rules, regulations, procedures, and policies for 
            the construction and modernization of school facilities to 
            ensure that they reflect the state planning priorities and 
            requires the SAB to revise them as necessary.

          3)Requires the governing board of a school district to consider 
            whether a new schoolsite or addition reflects state planning 
            priorities.

          4)Requires the following standards developed by the CDE to 
            reflect state planning priorities:

             a)   Selection of schoolsites.








                                                                  SB 132
                                                                  Page  2


             b)   Design and construction of school facilities that are 
               educationally and appropriate and promote school safety.  

          5)Requires the state's five-year infrastructure plan to include 
            information, to be provided to the Governor by the CDE and the 
            SAB, on the extent to which all of the following are 
            consistent with state planning priorities:

             a)   Guidelines, rules, regulations, procedures, and policies 
               for the construction and modernization of school facilities 
               adopted by the SAB.

             b)   Site selection standards developed by the CDE for use in 
               the selection of schoolsites.

             c)   Standards developed by the CDE for use by school 
               districts to ensure that the design and construction of 
               school facilities are educationally appropriate and promote 
               school safety.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires, under the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act of 
            1998, the SAB to allocate to applicant school districts 
            prescribed per-unhoused-pupil state funding for construction 
            and modernization of school facilities, including hardship 
            funding, and supplemental funding for site development and 
            acquisition.  (Education Code (EC) 17070.35)


          2)Prohibits the SAB from apportioning funds to any school 
            district unless the applicant school district has certified to 
            the SAB that it has obtained the written approval of the CDE 
            that the site selection and the building plans and 
            specifications comply with the standards adopted by the CDE.  
            (EC 17070.50)

          3)Requires a governing board of a school district to, prior to 
            commencing the acquisition of real property for a new 
            schoolsite or an addition to an existing schoolsite, evaluate 
            the property at a public hearing using the site selection 
            standards established by the CDE.  Authorizes the governing 
            board to direct the district's advisory committee to evaluate 
            the property pursuant to those site selection standards and to 








                                                                  SB 132
                                                                  Page  3

            report its findings to the governing board at the public 
            hearing.  (EC 17211)

          4)Requires the CDE to establish standards for use by school 
            districts in the selection of schoolsites and standards for 
            the design and construction of school facilities that are 
            educationally appropriate and promote school safety.  Requires 
            the CDE to advise a governing board on the acquisition of new 
            schoolsites and review plans and specifications for school 
            buildings.  (EC 17251)

          5)Specifies state planning priorities, which are intended to 
            promote equity, strengthen the economy, protect the 
            environment, and promote public health and safety in the 
            state, including in urban, suburban, and rural communities.  
            (Government Code (GC) Section 65041.1)

          6)Requires the Governor to, in conjunction with the Governor's 
            proposed budget, annually submit a proposed five-year 
            infrastructure plan to the Legislature.  Requires the plan to 
            identify new, rehabilitated, modernized, improved, or 
            renovated infrastructure requested by state agencies for the 
            five years, including infrastructure needs for kindergarten 
            through grade 12 public schools. (GC 13102)

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations 
          Committee, the requirements for the SAB and the CDE to revise 
          rules and regulations and standards are within the normal 
          functions of the SAB and the CDE and could be absorbed within 
          existing resources.  To the extent that the SAB and the CDE 
          change the rules, regulations, and standards, there could be 
          potential costs to local school districts and cost pressure to 
          state bond funds.  

           COMMENTS  :   State planning priorities  .  Existing law requires the 
          Governor to prepare, regularly review, and revise a 
          comprehensive State Environmental Goals and Policy Report.  The 
          Report is required to contain an overview of state growth and 
          development and a statement of approved state environmental 
          goals and objectives looking 20 to 30 years ahead, and a 
          description of new and revised state policies, programs and 
          other actions of the executive and legislative branches required 
          to implement statewide environmental goals.  Existing law also 
          requires any revision to the Report to provide goals that are 
          consistent with state planning priorities, which are intended to 








                                                                  SB 132
                                                                  Page  4

          promote equity, strengthen the economy, protect the environment, 
          and promote public health and safety in the state, as follows:

                 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.  

                 To 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 
               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.

                 To encourage efficient development patterns by ensuring 
               that any infrastructure associated with development, other 
               than infill development, supports new development that does 
               the following:

                  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.  

           This bill  requires the process of constructing new school 
          facilities and modernizing school facilities to reflect the 
          state planning priorities. Specifically, this bill requires 
          local governing boards to consider whether a new schoolsite or 
          addition to an existing schoosite reflects the state planning 
          priorities and requires the CDE to ensure that the standards for 
          site selection and school facility design and construction 
          reflect state planning priorities.  This bill also requires the 
          SAB to review the guidelines, rules, regulations, procedures, 
          and policies of the SFP to ensure that they reflect the state 








                                                                  SB 132
                                                                  Page  5

          planning priorities.  

          School Facility Program (SFP)  .  The construction and 
          rehabilitation of public kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) 
          and higher education facilities are funded by a combination of 
          state and local general obligation bonds, private funds, local 
          assessments, and in some instances, lease revenue bonds.  SB 50 
          (L. Greene), Chapter 407, Statutes of 1998, established the SFP, 
          which governs the allocation of state education bond funds and 
          the construction and modernization of K-12 school facilities.  
          Since the inception of the SFP in 1998, voters have approved 
          $35.4 billion in state G.O. bonds for K-12 schools.  The last 
          education bond on the statewide ballot was Proposition 1D, which 
          was passed by voters on the November 2006 ballot, and provided 
          $10.416 billion for K-12 and higher education facilities.  The 
          SAB, a ten member board, is responsible for the allocation of 
          bond funds and developing regulations for the administration of 
          the SFP.      

          In order to be eligible for state education bond funds, the SFP 
          requires a local educational agency to evaluate a potential 
          schoolsite at a local governing board meeting and to receive 
          approval from the CDE to ensure that the selected site and 
          school specifications are safe and meet the school's education 
          plan.  The CDE is required to provide advice to school districts 
          and develop standards by which school districts select the 
          location for new schoolsites and design facilities that ensures 
          that facilities are supportive environments for the 
          instructional program and are safe for students and staff.  

          Planning and siting schoolsites start at the local level.  
          Therefore, it is appropriate to for a local governing board to 
          consider whether a potential schoolsite meets state planning 
          priorities.  This bill does not require a local governing board 
          to ensure that a schoolsite meets state planning priorities; it 
          simply requires a local governing board to consider the 
          priorities.

          This bill requires the standards developed by CDE on siting new 
          schools and the standards for the design and construction of 
          school facilities to reflect the state planning priorities.  The 
          bill, however, does not require the CDE to consider whether the 
          location of potential schoolsites are consistent with state 
          planning priorities.  Staff recommends requiring the CDE to 
          consider state planning priorities in its review of potential 








                                                                  SB 132
                                                                  Page  6

          schoolsites.  

          The SAB is a ten-member body charged with allocating state 
          education bond funds and administering the SFP.  The regulations 
          establish parameters for funding as specified by the SFP 
          statutes.  It is unclear how the state planning priorities apply 
          to the SAB regulations, guidelines, rules, procedures and 
          policies, particularly for new construction of schools.  Would 
          school districts be prohibited from siting a school in a 
          particular location because it does not meet the state planning 
          priorities?  If CDE has approved a site, would that site go 
          through another level of review by the SAB?  The author believes 
          that the area of regulations that will have the greatest effect 
          through the consideration of state planning priorities are funds 
          for the modernization of schools.  According to the author's 
          office, regulations for modernization projects are restrictive 
          in the uses of the funds and prevent existing projects from 
          being updated to reflect modern educational needs.  As such, 
          staff recommends striking the requirement for the SAB to ensure 
          that regulations for new construction projects reflect the state 
          planning priorities, and specifying that any changes to the 
          regulations, guidelines, and policies for modernization projects 
          must be in accordance with existing law.  The Committee may wish 
          to consider whether amending the statutes governing authorizes 
          uses of modernization funds may be more effective than changing 
          regulations that must stay within the parameters of existing 
          law.  

           Five-year infrastructure plan  .  Existing law requires the 
          Governor to, in conjunction with the Governor's proposed budget, 
          annually submit a proposed five-year infrastructure plan to the 
          Legislature.  The five-year infrastructure plan is intended to 
          identify new, rehabilitated, modernized, improved, or renovated 
          infrastructure requested by state agencies for five years, 
          including infrastructure needs for K-12 public schools to 
          accommodate increased enrollment, class size reduction, and 
          school modernization.  This bill requires the five-year 
          infrastructure plan to include information provided by the CDE 
          and the SAB on the extent to which the guidelines, rules, 
          regulations, procedures, and policies for the construction and 
          modernization of school facilities, and the standards for 
          selection of schoolsites and design of school facilities are 
          consistent with the state planning priorities.  Staff recommends 
          striking new construction to conform to the previous suggested 
          amendment.       








                                                                  SB 132
                                                                  Page  7


           Arguments in Support  .  The author states, "High quality schools 
          serve as the cornerstone of sustainable, healthy communities.  
          School quality and location affects local land use and 
          transportation patterns, community vitality, economic 
          development and, most importantly, 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.  In 2002, 
          the state created the State Planning Priorities to promote 
          infill development and equity, to protect environmental and 
          agricultural resources and to encourage efficient development 
          patterns.  This bill will reflect the state planning priorities 
          in the state's school facility construction investment."

          The Fresno Unified School District states, "Unfortunately, 
          schools are typically not included in sustainability-oriented 
          infrastructure and policy discussions.  While Fresno Unified 
          School District has made it a policy that its facilities should 
          fit harmoniously into the community, many state school facility 
          policies are not structured to support broader sustainable 
          development objectives such as protecting the environmental and 
          agricultural resources and encouraging efficient development 
          patterns.  SB 132 will begin the process of ensuring school 
          facility infrastructure investments achieve the goals of 
          community and economic vitality and environmental health."  

           Arguments in Opposition  .  The California Building Industry 
          Association opposes the bill and states, "SB 132 is a misplaced 
          measure that imposes new environmental regulations that are in 
          direct conflict with the purpose of the school facilities 
          program: to build schools where there is demonstrated need for 
          new classrooms.  Furthermore, SB 132 mandates that the entire 
          body of regulations underpinning the state school facility 
          program (SB 50) be forced to integrate a set of land-use 
          priorities that are already appropriately applied through SB 375 
          and local land use planning.  SB 132 conflates two separate 
          state objectives that are completely unrelated.

          "Existing law allows for complaints to be filed against school 
          districts for noncompliance with site selection standards.  SB 
          132 opens the door for private parties to mount legal challenges 
          against a school district by creating a new cause of action:  
          noncompliance with the state planning priorities."  








                                                                  SB 132
                                                                  Page  8


           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          Advancement Project
          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
          California Advocacy Committee of the United States Green 
          Building Council
          Fresno Unified School District
          State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
           
            Opposition 
           
          California Building Industry Association

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Sophia Kwong Kim / ED. / (916) 319-2087