This section describes the process by which projects are converted. Please keep in mind that this process will lead to an unfunded approval, not a final apportionment. After being awarded an unfunded approval, an applicant must participate in the Priority Funding (link) process in order to be eligible to receive a final apportionment when bond sale proceeds become available. Please contact a charter school project manager early in the process when working toward conversion for the latest developments.
There are several important steps that you will want to be aware of as you convert your Preliminary Apportionment into a Final Apportionment. Please be aware that the list below is a broad overview of what may be necessary. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all of the steps involved in converting a Final Apportionment. It is important to connect with the various State and local agencies in order to make certain all necessary steps have been completed.
- Contact your California Department of Education (CDE) consultant to learn about the site selection and plan approval process It is crucial to have CDE involved very early when selecting a site and designing plans. This can help the charter avoid spending money or time on sites or plan configurations that will be not be approvable by CDE. Prior to filing for a Final Apportionment, the Charter must obtain from CDE both a site and plan approval letter. Without these approvals, the project cannot be funded. Ms. Lisa Constancio is the CDE charter school contact for all geographic locations. To contact her, call 916.445.4889.
- Request advance funding for design, site or both
There is advance funding available to assist charters with costs associated with the early part of the planning process. These funds are used to hire a design professional or to purchase a CDE-approved site. To apply for design funds, submit a Fund Release Authorization (SAB Form 50-05) (PDF). To receive advance site funds you will need a preliminary appraisal of the site, a contingent CDE approval letter, and signed Charter School Agreements. You must also have a current Financial Soundness determination from CSFA each time you request advanced funding. Please note that if you are eligible for an advance fund release, the disbursement of any funds is subject to bond proceed availability. For more information on this process please see CSFP Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) or contact the OPSC.
- Hire a design professional using methods approved under Government Code Sections 4525-4529.5
When building a project using State funds, districts and charters under the CSFP must adhere to Government Code. This Code must be followed in hiring design professionals, contractors and others. It is important that the charter school follow this statute, as the project cannot be funded otherwise. The OPSC encourages charter schools to discuss statutory requirements with legal counsel; however, some of the main requirements are listed below:
- For design professionals (architect, engineers, construction managers): When hiring a design professional, the charter school must use a competitive selection process. In this process the charter school advertises for a Request for Proposals (RFP) or a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). The advertisement must include a description of the work to be performed, the process that will be used for selection and the submittal process. Once the deadline for the RFQ/RFP has passed, the charter school will open the responses and evaluate the design professionals based on the criteria defined in the RFQ/RFP. In this process, the lowest price need not be a part of the selection criteria.
- For the construction contract (Public Contract Code Section 20110-20118.4): Construction contracts in excess of $15,000 the project must be publicly bid. The lowest responsive, responsible bidder gets the contract. The call for bids must be advertised for at least two weeks and include a description of the work to be performed. It is not acceptable to split a job into smaller pieces to avoid the bid process.