The State Allocation Board reports that it has allocated $408 million for shovel-ready school construction projects across the state. These state matching funds will help finance 78 school construction projects within 42 school districts and are expected to create more than 7,000 new jobs.
“Today’s action by the board moves these 42 districts to the head of the line and gets them the funding they need to start construction on vital education facilities,” says SAB Chair Cynthia Bryant. “New construction activity spurs job creation and gives our economy the boost it needs to get back on track.”
The funding was approved by the SAB this month under accelerated funding rules approved by the SAB in May. The pilot program was created to give priority order to $408 million in available Proposition 1D funds, approved by California voters in 2006, to school projects that are ready to proceed with construction.
In order to qualify, participating school districts certified that within 90 days of receiving an apportionment, they would have local matching funds, usually 50% of the total project cost, in hand, and at least half of their construction contracts in place. School districts in financial hardship were also able to compete for the priority-ordered funding to purchase sites or begin design work.
If a district fails to begin construction within 90 days, the state will not release funds for the project and the district will be required to move to the back of the line behind other districts that are waiting funding from the state, causing the district to potentially wait months to years to receive funding from the state.
Entities receiving the most funds include Lennox School District in Los Angeles (an “overcrowding relief grant” of $68.5 million); Desert Sands Unified School District in Riverside County (new construction, $41.4 million); Los Angeles County Office of Education (new construction, $29.5 million); and San Ramon Valley Unified School District (new construction, $21.4 million).
The board also took action to ensure that certain districts with an imminent health and safety threat would receive the highest priority for future funding when additional cash is available to make apportionments.
The SAB is responsible for determining the allocation of voter-approved school construction bonds, as well as the administration of the School Facility Program, the State Relocatable Classroom Program and the Deferred Maintenance Program. The SAB is the policy level body for programs administered by the Office of Public School Construction, which provides the staff and support for state financing of school facilities. Funds for these projects are provided by bonds authorized under Propositions 1D, 47 and 55