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