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How to Build a School in California Managing the State Agency Requirements. Moderator: Kathleen Moore, Director School Facilities Planning Division California Department of Education Small School Districts’ Association 28 th Annual Conference April 14, 2011, 9:45-10:45 AM.

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How to Build a School in CaliforniaManaging the State Agency Requirements

Moderator: Kathleen Moore, Director

School Facilities Planning Division

California Department of Education

Small School Districts’ Association 28th Annual Conference

April 14, 2011, 9:45-10:45 AM

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California Department of Education

School Facilities Planning Division


Kathleen Moore

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Agenda Summary

  • Role of the California Department of Education (CDE)

  • Overview of the CDE site and plan approval processes

  • Top 10 Tips for getting your Projects Approved

  • Resources

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Role of the CDE

  • California Education Code Section 17251

    • CDE to develop standards for school sites and plans to ensure educational appropriateness and promote school safety

    • Upon LEA request, CDE reviews proposed school sites and plans

  • Standards in California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 5

  • Advisory and Best Practices

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Role of the CDE (cont.)

  • All public school sites and plans, regardless of funding source, must meet Title 5 standards:

    • Section 14010, site standards

    • Section 14030, plan standards

    • Sections 14011 and 14032, state funded procedures

    • Sections 14012 and 14033, locally funded procedures

  • If state funds are to be requested, CDE approval is required (Education Code Section 17070.50)

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SFPD – Who are we?

  • Director - Kathleen Moore

  • Supervising Field Representative - Fred Yeager

  • Education Administrator - Kathleen Seabourne (policy)

  • Staff Manager – Diane Works (supervises Analysts)

  • Senior Architect – Diane Waters

  • 12 Field Representatives - (Geographic and topical assignments, 8 based in Sacramento Office)

  • Office of School Transportation

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Vision and Guiding Principles

The California Department of Education envisions school facilities that enhance the achievement of all students and are learner-centered, safe, sustainable, and centers of community.

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Vision and Guiding Principles

The siting and design of educational facilities will:

  • Reflect the Local Educational Agency’s board-adopted facilities master plan and educational specifications.

  • Result from an open, community-based, and comprehensive planning process including all stakeholders and early dialogue with all involved planning agencies.

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Vision and Guiding Principles

  • Accommodate a complete facility supporting the delivery of the adopted educational program, be accessible to all, and adaptable to future demographic, educational, and community needs.

  • Support students, parents, teachers and staff in closing achievement gaps, and preparing students for the workforce, post-secondary education, and lifelong learning.

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Vision and Guiding Principles

  • Consider the full spectrum of community facilities and support opportunities for joint-use and educational partnerships.

  • Ensure safety from existing and potential hazards and incompatible land uses.

  • Provide a secure environment with a focus on supervision.

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Vision and Guiding Principles

  • Create comfortable, attractive, and stimulating environments that support collaboration and diverse learning styles and opportunities.

  • Promote sustainable practices that conserve natural resources, limit greenhouse gas emissions, optimize construction and life cycle costs, and encourage walking and bicycling.

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Vision and Guiding Principles

  • Incorporate superior acoustics, indoor-air quality, and natural lighting.

  • Respond to current and future information, communication, and technology needs.

  • Support student health, nutrition, and physical fitness

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Local Educational Agency (LEA) evaluates short and long term facility needs


LEA submits CDE site & plan approval letters as part of their Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) funding application


LEA identifies and evaluates

potential sites


LEA submits site package, Analyst reviews, Field Rep. and Asst. Dir. approves if Code & Title 5standards and procedures are met


CDE evaluates/ranks three or more of the potential sites identified by the LEA, and notes any required special studies per Title 5 (SFPD 4.0)


LEA selects preferred site and prepares CDE required documents, completes procedures per Codes and Title 5, including CEQA & DTSC (SFPD 4.01)

Site Approval Process Overview

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LEA develops/adopts Educational Specifications


LEA develops and submits

preliminary plans to CDE

(design development with SFPD form 4.07 / 4.08)


LEA submits CDE plan approval letter as part of their OPSC funding application


Analyst reviews plans per Title 5, Field Rep. may require or recommend changes. LEA resolves CDE concerns, makes plan changes


LEA submits final plans, Field Rep. & Asst. Dir. approves if Code & Title 5 standards are met, and CEQA & DTSC (if applicable) are Complete

Plan Approval Process Overview

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CDE Top 10 Tips

  • Develop and Use Educational Specifications

    • Links function / educational program to design

    • Required by Title 5

    • Involve all stakeholders in development

      • Teachers

      • Classified

      • Parents

      • Community

      • Students

    • Board-adopted

    • Consider new trends / post-occupancy evaluation

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CDE Top 10 Tips

  • Develop / Update a Facilities Master Plan

    • Recommend 5+ year timeframe, update at least every 3-5 years

    • CDE reviews Master Plan with site approval package to justify site size acquisition, master plan capacity

  • Identify need to acquire land, build or consolidate

  • Where to build

  • What to build

  • What to modernize

  • Budget estimates

  • Funding sources

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CDE Top 10 Tips

  • Ensure that LEA staff, your architects and consultants understand and use CCR Title 5, e.g.:

    • Minimum classroom sizes

    • Parking lot, drop-off, bus separations/safety

    • Mitigations noted in site approval, such as: power line setbacks, pipeline mitigations, demonstration of adequate physical education on smaller sites

    • Know how to request & document standard exemptions

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CDE Top 10 Tips

  • Use most current forms/guidance from CDE Web

    • Latest requirements and certifications on forms

    • Small school site policy / maximum student density

    • Physical education – guidance for smaller sites

    • Guidance for power lines, pipelines, etc.

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CDE Top 10 Tips

  • Early and frequent contact with CDE Field Representative

    • Review of requirements, processes

    • New laws, regulations, policies, recommended guidance

    • Scheduling of review times

    • Consider attending County Office of Ed. Facilities Planners Meetings

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CDE Top 10 Tips

  • Plan sites for future growth (acreage, access, supervision, interaction, support for expand capacity)

    Support and other facilities such as:

    • Additional toilets

    • Cafeteria/outdoor seating, satellite food services

    • Lockers

    • Physical education teaching stations

    • New construction / relocatable classrooms

    • Special Education

      • District and County Office of Education

      • Parking and other interaction on campus

    • Preschool / day care

    • Joint-Use

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CDE Top 10 Tips

  • Understand the role / timelines of CDE, City/County and any other approval agencies

    • Are there any other agency approvals or overrides needed? (e.g.,Coastal Commission, Regional Planning Agency, Army Corp of Engineers, Airport Land Use Commission, Dept. of Conservation-Williamson Act Contracts, Air Quality Mgmt. Dist, CalTrans-Airports, Cities/Counties, etc.)

    • Need for utility and road access, connections

    • Off-site improvements, mitigations

    • Grading / drainage permits

    • New air impact assessment fee / indirect source review

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CDE Top 10 Tips

  • Ensure your documents / studies are consistentinternally and with each other

    same location, acreage, project scope, master plan capacity,conclusions / findings in all submitted to CDE, such as:

    • California Environment Quality Act (CEQA) – EIRs, Neg. Decs.

    • Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) – Phase I

    • Geohazards Reports

    • Safety Studies (pipelines, powerlines, railroads, etc.)

    • CDE forms (SFPD 4.0, 4.02)

    • Legal description and matching maps

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CDE Top 10 Tips

  • Clear Definition of Project Scope Upfront

    • What level of CEQA analysis is needed?

    • Is DTSC approval needed? If so, be prepared for Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment, Preliminary Endangerment Assessment, or Removal Actions, etc.

    • Other safety studies as required / noted on the SFPD 4.0 Initial Site Evaluation

    • All joint use acreage included/covered by reports?

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CDE Top 10 Tips

  • Submit Preliminary Plans to CDE

    • Schematic/Design development docs. (20-50%)

    • Saves time for CDE final plan approval

    • Saves money (fewer unexpected changes later)

    • Better final product

    • Insist your design professional submit early (before DSA submittal)

    • Respond to preliminary plan required changes and comments in final plan approval request

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CDE Top 10 Tips

Bonus tips:

  • Be aware of funding deadlines, don’t wait and file at the last minute

  • Read consultant / architect prepared forms/reports before submitting to CDE

  • Submit drawings / plans that are readable and call out uses, dimensions, safety equipment etc.

  • Submit only complete packages with forms completely filled out

  • Use the Env. Hazards Checklist form for site packages, consider electronic/interactive disk submittal

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Sample CDE Web Site Resources

  • CaliforniaCode of Regulations, Title 5

  • Hazard evaluation guidance (pipelines, power lines, etc.)

  • Project application forms

  • Staff and County assignments

  • Physical Education Planning Guidelines

  • Small School Site Guidelines

  • Advisories / Memos / Reports / Presentations

  • Guidance / Best Practices Publications (e.g., School Site Selection & Approval, School Site Analysis and Development, Educational Specifications, Healthy Children Ready to Learn)

  • What’s new , list serve

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Other Agency Resources

  • Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)

  • The Council for Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) http:/

  • National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities

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CDE Contact Information

California Department of Education

School Facilities Planning Division

1430 N Street, Suite 1201

Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 322-2470

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Division of the StateArchitect

“The Building Department for Public Schools”


Howard “Chip” Smith

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DSA Organization

DSA Headquarters located in Sacramento

Four DSA Regional Offices



Los Angeles

San Diego

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Regional Office


San Francisco Basin


Los Angeles Basin


San Diego


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DSA Organization

DSA Headquarters

Code Development

Statewide programs: inspector certification & training, laboratory approvals (LEA)

Interpretations of Regulations (IRs), Bulletins, Policies, Procedures

DSA Academy (learning resource for staff/clients)

DSA Advisory Board and Committees

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DSA Organization

DSA Regional Offices

Project plan review and approval

Construction oversight

Project inspector approval

Project close-out & certification

TIP – know the DSA contacts for your project:- Intake Architect- Supervisors- Regional Manager

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Scope of DSA’s Review

DSA reviews design for compliance with building regulations:

Structural Safety (SS)

Fire and Life Safety (FLS)

Accessibility (AC)

High Performance Incentive (HPI)

Construction documents must show ALL work (electrical, mechanical, plumbing, site)

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Projects for which DSA Review is Required

New school buildings

Alterations to existing school buildings if project cost exceeds $36,908 (IR A-10)

Site replacement of relocatable classrooms

Reconstruction – the repair of damage to an existing certified school building such as fire damage

Rehabilitation – comprehensive evaluation and retrofit of an existing non-conforming building

Miscellaneous structures & facilities (ex.: light poles, scoreboards)

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DSA Review is Not Required for:

Off-campus administrative buildings

Maintenance projects – reroof and repair – Title 24, Part 1, Section 4-314

Alteration projects, if estimated construction cost of less than $36,908 (refer to IR A-10)

Questions ? Contact your Regional Office

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Applicable Laws and Regulations


Education Code Section 17280 (Field Act – K-12)

Education Code Section 81130 (Field Act – Community College)

Government Code Sections 14963 & 14964 (FLS)

Government Code Section 4450 (Accessibility)

Regulations – Title 24, Parts 1 – 12:

Part 1 – Administrative

Part 2 – Building Code

Parts 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11 – Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, Energy, Fire Codes and Green Codes

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Project Development Tips

Prior to design, conduct adequate surveys for accessibility, fire-safety and structural aspects of existing facilities

Preliminary meeting with DSA recommended for large or complex projects:- Project scheduling constraints & funding deadlines- Verify deferred approval items (e.g. fire sprinkler design)

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1: Submitting Plans to DSA

Complete plans and specifications: 3 sets (4 if requesting HPI review); use Form DSA-3, Project Submittal Checklist

Geological Hazards Report and Soils Report, if required (refer to IR A-4)

Site drawing signed by local fire authority approving fire access, gates, fire flow, and hydrants

Site plan to show “Path of Travel” for site and building accessibility

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1: Submitting Plans to DSA (cont.)

  • Energy compliance documentation

    • 2008 Energy Code Compliance Checklist (DSA-403)

  • DSA Application Form (DSA-1)

    • Project tracking (PTN) number

  • Testing and Inspection Form (DSA-103)

  • Fees - based on estimated construction cost

  • Structural calculations

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2: Plan Review

Plans reviewed by next available plan reviewer (for each of four disciplines)

Plans reviewed in order received (exception - “shovel ready” project prioritization)

Four concurrent reviews are conducted:

Structural – structural engineer

Fire and Life Safety – fire and life-safety officer

Accessibility – access compliance review

HPI – High Performance Incentive review

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3: Reviewed Plans Returned to Architect

Each of four “check sets” (SS, FLS, AC, HPI) returned to Architect when completed

DSA Web site “TRACKER” also indicates status of each review (SS, FLS, AC, HPI)

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4: “Back check” and Approval of Plans

Architect schedules “back check” appointment at DSA (SS, FLS, AC, HPI)

Architect and consultants bring amended tracings and check sets to back check

Architect and consultants must provide experienced staff at the back check

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Approval of Plans and Specs

DSA staff review tracings and three check sets with the architect and engineers

When back check is done, SS, FLS, AC initial and date DSA Identification Stamp

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Approval of Plans and Specs:DSA Approval Letter

DSA scans all stamped drawings and specifications, and then returns documents- DSA Policy 06-01

Approval Letter is issued via emailDSA Bulletin 06-02

Construction contract may be awarded upon approval (DSA Approval Letter)

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Construction Oversight & Certification

  • DSA Certified Project Inspectors

  • Design Professional

  • DSA Field Staff

  • Contractors

  • Testing Labs

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DSA Web Site

Project Status – “TRACKER”

Project Submittal / Plan Review Process

DSA Publications and Forms

DSA Inspector and Lab Programs

Contact Information for HQ and Regional Offices

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Office of


School Construction

“Tips for Receiving State Funding”


Lisa Silverman

Brian LaPask

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Tips for Active Apportionments

  • Keep your $$

  • Be aware of your Time Limit on Fund Release (TLOFR)

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Tips for PIF Active Apportionments

  • Priorities in Funding Apportionments

    • Submit a SAB 50-05 within 90 days of apportionment

    • Must have entered into contracts for at least 50 percent of the total project cost

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Tips for PIF Active Apportionments

Priorities in Funding Apportionments

  • 1st Round

    • August 4, 2010 100% of funds were released

  • 2nd Round

    • December 15, 2010 99.9% of funds were released

    • January 26, 2011 50-05 due 4/26/11

    • February 23, 2011 50-05 due 5/24/11

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Tips for Unfunded Approvals

  • Be familiar with the “Priorities in Funding” rules

  • Unfunded approvals are not a guarantee of funding

  • Financial Hardship applications do not go through a re-review process if their Financial Hardship status expired while on the unfunded list.

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Current Issues

  • April 12, 2011 SAB Seismic Mitigation Subcommittee

    • Discussed impediments to accessing the Seismic Mitigation Program

    • Discussed options/concepts that will provide for greater accessibility to the Seismic Mitigation Program

  • April 12, 2011 SAB Cash Management Subcommittee

    • Discussed potential changes to apportioning projects when future cash is available

    • Discussed rescissions and the issue of Financial Hardship re-reviews

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Remaining Bond AuthorityIn millions - As of March 23, 2011

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Tips for Programs with Funds Available

  • Modernization

  • New Construction

  • Overcrowding Relief Grant

  • Seismic Mitigation

  • High Performance Incentive

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  • 60/40 state and local sharing basis

  • Eligible improvements to educationally enhance existing school facilities

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New Construction

  • 50/50 state and local sharing basis

  • Eligible projects that add pupil capacity to a school district

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Overcrowding Relief Grant

  • Replacement of portable classrooms with permanent classrooms at overcrowded school sites

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Seismic Mitigation Program

  • Seismic repair, reconstruction, or replacement of the “most vulnerable” school facilities

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High Performance Incentive Grants

  • Supplemental grant for projects with high performance attributes

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OPSC Outreach Team

  • Internal Training

  • External Training

  • Hands-on assistance for school districts

  • Explain program options and assisting in the application process

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Part I: Elements of a Complete Application

April 11, 2011 - 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Archive available online

Part II: Site Development Funding

April 18, 2011 - 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Part III: New Construction Eligibility and Funding

April 25, 2011 - 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Part IV: Modernization Eligibility and Funding May 2, 2011 - 9:00am-11:00am 

Part V: Site Acquisition Funding May 9, 2011 - 9:00am-11:00am 

Part VI: Financial Hardship May 16, 2011 - 9:00am-11:00am 

OPSC Webinars

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SAB Members

Ana J. Matosantos,ChairDirector, Department of FinanceDesignee: Pedro Reyes, Acting Chief Deputy Director of Policy

Scott Harvey, Acting Director, Department of General Services

Tom TorlaksonState Superintendent of Public Instruction, Department of EducationDesignee: Kathleen Moore, Director, School Facilities Planning Division

Lyn Greene, Governor’s Appointee

Assembly Member Julia Brownley

Assembly Member Joan Buchanan

Assemblyman Curt Hagman

Senator Loni Hancock

Senator Bob Huff

Senator Alan Lowenthal