April is a busy month in Sacramento, with the Legislature working toward the first policy committee deadline while performing a detailed examination of the Governor’s January budget proposal. Below is an update on a number of high priority issues for Community College Facility Coalition (CCFC).
AB 48 2020 School Bond
AB 48 (O’Donnell) is the 2020 school bond vehicle, and it had its first hearing in Assembly Education Committee on April 10, passing 5:0. Community college components will be discussed by Assembly Higher Education Committee on April 23. CCFC is working with policymakers to create more certainty for districts as they plan their projects and bond programs. We are proposing to add specific language about the capital outlay program to the bond bill and statute.
AB 48 does not specify a dollar amount for the bond. The amount will be subject to policy decisions, such as which programs to fund and what education segments to include. Policymakers and stakeholders are discussing whether to add UC and CSU, which have their own separate bond bills, or preschool, which is a top priority of many lawmakers.
AB 48 specifies that the bond will go on the March 2020 primary ballot, and a subsequent bond would be placed on the November 2022 ballot.
CCFC continues to work with policymakers and stakeholders on the development of the community college language, and we will follow up with additional information regarding the conversation in Assembly Higher Education Committee.
AB 695 Design-Build Authorization
AB 695 (Medina), the design-build sunset extension, passed unanimously out of Assembly Higher Education committee on April 2. AB 695 extends the authorization for community college districts to use design-build by 10 years, to January 1, 2030. CCFC provided lead testimony in support of the bill. The author amended AB 695 to create new skilled workforce provisions for community college design-build projects. These provisions were requested by the State Building and Construction Trades Council, with the intention of directly mirroring existing requirements for K-12 and other public agency design-build projects. CCFC was successful in pushing back the implementation date of these requirements from January 1, 2020 to July 1, 2020. The new requirements will apply to contracts advertised for bid or awarded on or after July 1, 2020.
The requirements stipulate that design-build projects must employ a skilled and trained workforce, meaning that all workers in an apprenticeable occupation are either skilled journeypersons or apprentices in an apprenticeship program approved by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). As currently drafted, ommunity colleges will be subject to the full implementation requirements, which state that by 2020 60% of the skilled journeypersons for specified trades must be apprenticeship graduates, while a number of other trades are frozen at 30%. These levels have been phased in gradually over five years since being originally established for K-12 and other public agencies. DIR reporting requirements are waived if a public entity has a Project Labor Agreement.
CCFC requested a gradual approach to phasing in the skilled workforce requirements over a number of years to ensure the smoothest possible implementation, however this request was not incorporated.
Click here for the full text of AB 695. The bill will next be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee to review potential state fiscal impacts.
2019-20 Capital Outlay Budget
On April 11, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education heard the community college capital outlay budget proposal, deferring action until after the May Revision is released. The Governor’s January 2019-20 budget proposed to fund 12 new capital outlay projects and 15 continuing projects authorized in prior fiscal years. For a list of the 12 new capital outlay projects, click here. The Department of Finance administratively updated this request in April to add the following three additional new capital outlay projects to the 2019-20 budget:
San Mateo CCD – Skyline College: Workforce and Economic Development Center Renovation
San Mateo CCD – Cañada College: Building 13 – Multiple Program Instructional Center Renovation
Santa Clarita CCD – College of the Canyons – Modernize Boykin Hall Academic Building
The budget proposes to fund both preliminary plans and working drawings for the 15 new starts.
The Subcommittee held an in-depth discussion of the proposal, focusing on the disconnect in priorities between the Chancellor’s Office and the Department of Finance. Chair Senator Roth indicated that districts are having a difficult time understanding the selection criteria and why their projects are recommended by the Board of Governors but then not included in the Governor’s budget proposal. Christian Osmeña (Chancellor’s Office) explained that there are two areas where DOF and the Chancellor’s Office are not in agreement: the amount of bond proceeds to allocate each year, and which projects to prioritize, with DOF preferring to target funds to projects that address life-safety issues.
The Subcommittee also briefly discussed efforts that are currently underway at the Chancellor’s Office to update the capital outlay prioritization process to reflect Vision for Success metrics and to modernize the priority categories. Christian Osmeña explained that these conversations are in the preliminary stages, and any policy change will be brought to the formal consultation process for a public vetting. He indicated that the intention is to prioritize limited state funds by incorporating measures of need. Factors could include incidence of low-income students, regions of low performance, and capacity to access the property tax base (i.e. assessed valuation).
During public comment, Rebekah Cearley spoke on behalf of CCFC, urging the subcommittee to fund all 39 new start projects and all 19 continuing projects recommended by the Board of Governors in FY 2019-20. Rebekah emphasized that we should not pick winners and losers from the Capital Outlay Spending Plan, and that voters approved Proposition 51 with the intention of funding projects beyond just those with health and safety issues. She urged caution in the use of non-facilities factors to fund capital outlay, given the high level of detail we have about facilities needs and conditions.
The issue will next be discussed in Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance on April 23. The Governor will release his May Revision by mid-May, and the Legislature is working toward a constitutional deadline to pass the budget by June 15.