September 20, 2011: The State Allocation Board (SAB) is responsible for allocating general obligation bonds and other funds used for construction, modernization, maintenance and repair of local public school facilities. The SAB meets monthly to apportion funds to the school districts, act on appeals and adopt policies and regulations that govern the administration of SAB programs.
One of the programs administered by the SAB is the Charter School Facilities Program (CSFP), which was established in 2002 by Assembly Bill 14. The CSFP is funded by Proposition 47, Proposition 55 and Proposition 1D. The CSFP allows charter schools that provide site-based instruction access to state facility funding. A charter school can apply directly or with the assistance of the school district and receive a reservation of funds for new facilities construction or rehabilitation of existing district-owned facilities. As of August 2011, the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) was not accepting applications for the CSFP, but this could change in the future, so please visit the OPSC website for more information.
The CSFP is part of a broader School Facilities Program which funds all public schools in California. Charter schools have been allocated separately through each Proposition, but because of intricacies of the charter program, charter schools have historically been disadvantaged in the school construction process. The current SAB recognized this disadvantage and recently began working to put charters on an equal playing field with the rest of the school facilities projects. In May of this year, the Board reserved approximately $73.5 million out of the next bond sale to provide advance fund releases for charters to locate and design a site for their facility. In August, the Board voted unanimously to use $22 million in unused cash to fund shovel-ready charter school projects and kept $6.9 million for future charter school uses. The Board also unanimously voted to augment the previously set aside $73.5 million in future bond sale proceeds by an additional $20.7 million, meaning that all possible future CSFP advance fund releases will be covered through the next bond sale.
This recent decision was a big success for the Charter School Facility Program. The decision set the precedent that all money reserved for charters should stay within the charter program. Further, the Board recognized the great success of charters during the past two funding rounds and rewarded this success by allowing more charter projects to be funded.