In October 1999, AB 300 (Corbett) was chaptered. (The text of the bill is included in the AB 300 report as Appendix A.) It added Section 17317 to the California Education Code.
The law required DGS to survey the State's kindergarten through grade 12 school buildings. Community college buildings were not involved. The purpose of the report was to provide lawmakers with an overview of the scope of the seismic safety challenge these structures represented, and to quantify the problem so that informed, cost-effective decisions could be made to address the issue.
The survey focused on buildings constructed before the 1976 California Building Code (CBC) went into effect, since that edition of the CBC incorporated more stringent seismic safety standards. Also, the survey dealt only with buildings in use and occupied by students and teachers. Wood frame buildings were not surveyed since wood frame buildings are expected to do well in an earthquake. The survey divided the remaining buildings into 2 categories, depending on the structural system employed in their construction (these systems are explained in Appendix B of the final report):
- Category 1 - Building types that are likely to perform well and are expected (but not guaranteed) to achieve life-safety performance in an earthquake.
- Category 2 - Building types not expected to perform as well as Category 1 in an earthquake, and require detailed seismic evaluation to determine if they can achieve life-safety performance.
The law also required DGS to submit a report of its findings to the Legislature. This report was required to not identify specific school sites but provide analysis of the aggregate numbers only.
On November 15, 2002, the AB 300 Report, titled "Seismic Safety Inventory of California Public Schools" (PDF - 254 KB) was released, which presented and analyzed the findings of the survey.
In January of 2003 DSA sent a letter (PDF - 34 KB) to all school districts advising them of the AB 300 report and offering to provide to any district that requested it a copy of the AB 300 survey data pertaining to that district. The letter also stressed that inclusion of a building on the inventory does not, in itself, say anything about the safety of the building. Only a detailed evaluation by a structural engineer can determine whether any building will be expected to be safe, or if a retrofit will be needed.
In 2005 DSA provided an Executive Summary (PDF - 51 KB) with answers to some frequently asked questions about the report, including an explanation of the information on the data listing received by districts when responding to DSA's offer, in its 2003 letter, to send specific information. Updated and additional Questions and Answers have been posted as AB 300 FAQ (PDF - 24 KB).
Since the original survey was performed by reviewing construction records (as explained in Chapter 2 of the AB 300 Report) there were inherent and unavoidable shortcomings. Also, it should be remembered that the documents on which the inventory relied may have predated the survey by as much as 65 years. Much could have happened to such buildings in the intervening years which would not show in the survey.
In 2008 DSA attempted to update the survey with current, accurate information from each district. In this way buildings could be added which were missed originally, errors could be corrected, and the status of buildings sold, demolished or no linger in use could be noted.
In September of 2008, a letter from the State Architect (PDF - 46 KB) was sent to school districts and county offices of education that requested updated information on buildings included in the AB 300 survey. A similar letter went to districts with no buildings on the inventory (PDF - 46 KB) requesting information on any qualifying buildings on any of their campuses that may have been missed on the original survey.
In response to inquiries from the public, and in compliance with Public Records Act requests over the years, the entire original AB 300 survey has become public.
The AB 300 listing seen elsewhere on the Internet and other places is the original raw data from the survey and does not reflect changes to the data base resulting from the 2008 Update project.
The upated AB 300 List (PDF - 4.22 MB), showing corrected information, buildings added and updated building status is being made available.
This updated listing is sorted by District, then by School name, Application number and finally by building number. The list shows the status of each building, as currently known.
School District Action
Districts are able to determine the expected seismic safety performance of any buildings in their district by means of a detailed seismic evaluation.
Districts that have not responded to the DSA request for updated information may submit a form DSA 300 (PDF - 42 KB) for any changed or added buildings. If the status of any buildings have changed, the district may submit a hard copy of the list pages showing those buildings and placing a check in the appropriate box.
AB 300 updates or questions may be directed to John Vester at email@example.com or by calling 916.445.1325.
—Division of the State Architect