Document Prep for the New Year: Four Tips for School Districts

Document Prep for the New Year: Four Tips for School Districts

The end of the calendar year is when school districts begin to think about the tasks – particularly related to paperwork and documentation – that need to be done to ensure that everything is in order prior to kicking off a new year. With 2023 right around the corner, VPCS is here to help. Perhaps your district has a new bond measure on the November ballot. If not, you might be part-way through a bond program. Or maybe your district is gearing up for capital improvements. Whatever your district’s current situation, this is the time to do some important housekeeping so you’re ready for the coming year.

We work closely with our client districts to help them prepare their annual documents for any and all upcoming capital improvement projects. Because when the paperwork is in proper order, it smooths the way for everything that follows.

Members of the VPCS team just returned from the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) 2022 Fall Conference, where this was one of the topics on the agenda. Here are four key takeaways from those discussions – actions that school districts can take now to hit the ground running in 2023:

1. Update your prequalification and CUPCCAA lists.

Make sure that your lists of prequalified and California Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act (CUPCCAA) contractors are up to date. (And if you’re not already using CUPCCAA, we highly recommend it, as it greatly streamlines the procurement process.) Keeping these lists current allows existing contractors to verify the accuracy of their information, while also opening up your list to potential new vendors.

2. Review your PM/CM and architect pools for RFQs.

If it’s been a few years since you last distributed an RFQ – or if a pandemic has occurred in the meantime – it might be time to take a fresh look at the vendor lists from which you typically draw. The state requires that pools for key consultants, including architecture and program/construction management firms, be updated every five years, so keeping those pools current is critical to securing state funding for projects. Of course, if your district has a new bond program coming out, you’ll want your RFQs to align with the anticipated projects so you’re in the best position to line up the right consultants for the work. And the sooner you update your RFQs, the more quickly you can begin effectively planning upcoming projects.

3. Button up your bid packages’ content.

Every year, the state codes change. So, too, does the language that needs to be used in bid documents. It’s critical to work closely with your legal counsel and program managers to stay up to date on how to craft and communicate your district’s needs and ensure adherence to proper procurement processes. This is a clear best practice priority that can dramatically improve the likelihood of your district’s success.

4. Time your bids properly.

The best time to bid your district’s projects is early in the calendar year, which means preparing them now. This will allow you to line up your teams well in advance of the end of the school year so construction work can go at full steam during the summer months. It also clears the path for you to begin the process again as 2023 winds down and you begin the cycle all over again to gear up for 2024.

At VPCS, our top priority is supporting our districts with best practices – whether we’re overseeing facilities improvements or facilitating the process of preparing for new bond cycles. We are firmly committed to doing what is best for our clients, including helping them identify the most qualified vendors. We’re not happy unless our districts feel confident that they’re in good hands.

October 25, 2022

Why Local Bond Initiatives Are Good for California

Why Local Bond Initiatives Are Good for California

November is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time for Californians to go to the polls. Election season is especially important to those of us in school construction because it’s when voters cast their ballots for school bond measures for K-12 and community college districts.

In the upcoming November 8, 2022 elections, there will be 100 separate general obligation (GO) bond measures for K-12 school and community college districts on the ballots throughout the state, according to data from the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH).

In California, the Local Control Funding Formula (which has been in effect since 2013) allocates dollars for general operational costs at the state’s public schools. However, very little, if any, of those funds end up being available for facilities construction. That’s why GO bonds are so important, as they are earmarked specifically for facilities construction projects within individual districts.

Among our current district clients whose communities have GO bond measures on the upcoming ballot are:

  • Napa Valley Unified School District: Measures A1 and A2
  • Pleasanton Unified School District: Measure I
  • Calistoga Joint Unified School District: Measure B
  • East Side Union High School District: Measures G, E, I, Technology I and Z

If passed, these initiatives – and other comparable bond measures from elsewhere in the state – would provide funding for critical pre-planning, master planning and construction efforts for new and modernized school facilities. Additionally, these types of bond-funded projects would contribute to job growth throughout California.

At VPCS, we do whatever we can to support California’s GO school bond measures, whether or not they target our client districts. That’s one of the many reasons we’re so active in organizations such as CASH (including its Legislative Advisory Committee and its School Facilities Leadership Academy), the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) and the Community College Facility Coalition.

We understand that our public educational agencies are under-funded at both the state and the federal levels and that the only way to raise the funds necessary to build and improve facilities is to garner local support.

Supporting school bond measures helps strengthen communities. It’s a way for local taxpayers to show K-12 and community college districts that they are willing to invest in their own communities, bolster local economies by creating construction jobs and solidify California’s public education mission. Most importantly, it demonstrates a commitment to achievement for students of all ages.

For all these reasons and more, VPCS believes in the promise of local bond initiatives. We hope to see you at the polls.

October 5, 2022