California Public School Construction Process
This resource contains important links to state agency regulatory approval information for the school construction process, and key contacts in each agency that will assist you through each step of the process.
State Agencies involved in the Process are:
- California Department of Education (CDE)
- Division of the State Architect (DSA)
- Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
- Office of Public School Construction (OPSC)
- Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)
For more detailed information about each agencies’ role in the process, please see The Role of State Agencies in the School Facility Program document.
- Public School Construction Process with State Funding - Flowchart
- The Role of State Agencies in the School Facility Program
- Assembly Bill 203 Report (Chapter 837, Statutes of 2017, O'Donnell)
The Feasibility of Using a Common Application or Application Software for the Public School Construction Programs Administered by the California Departments of Education and General Services
State Agency - Key Web Page Links by Project Phase
Each process section listed on this website refers you to key information and contacts you need in order to complete that process. The process is virtually the same whether your school district is building a state funded new school or modernizing an existing one. For an overall scope of each agency involved in the process, please see The Role of State Agencies in the School Facility Program document.
(A project tracking number is required by CDE, DSA and OPSC when starting a project)
CDE provides information to assist school districts and their communities in creating well-planned, K-12 learning environments in safe, clean, and up-to date schools. DTSC assesses sites when new acreage is required.
DTSC School Facility Information
State Funding - District Eligibility
For information on how to establish eligibility, or the current status of the district’s eligibility for State funding under the School Facility Program (SFP), please contact the OPSC Project Manager.
The California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) makes changes to corporate income taxes and, except as specified, provides $550 million annually from the General Fund to the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund, or the Job Creation Fund, for five fiscal years beginning with the 2013-14 fiscal year.
California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39)
The U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools recognition award honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs. For more information on the program, please see:
Green Ribbon School Award Program
The Bright Schools Program offers services to help identify the most cost-effective energy saving opportunities for your school facility. Savings can typically reduce annual utility costs by 10 percent or more. In addition, efficiency upgrades can reduce annual maintenance costs and greenhouse gas emissions, while improving indoor air quality and the overall building comfort.
Bright Schools Program Brochure
California is reducing its environmental footprint through sustainable state government operations and practices including energy efficient building design and construction, renewable energy generation at state facilities, environmentally preferable purchasing, and green vehicle policies.
Green California - Home Page
List of resources for Green Schools - U.S. Department of Education reference page. This page is designed to make ED-Green Ribbon School resources easier to find. It is offered as a convenience for schools, teachers, parents and students.
DSA is engaged with school districts and industry representatives in facilitating review and approval of energy efficient installations on school sites. Districts are encouraged to work with DSA on energy efficient solutions when modernizing existing facilities or constructing new facilities.
DSA reviews state-funded construction projects to ensure the project design meets code requirements for structural integrity, fire and life safety and accessibility. DSA approval is required for any project seeking state funding and must be completed before the project begins construction. Please see the following pages for more information on project submittal and completion.
DSA Project Submittal, Review, Oversight and Closeout/Certification - Main Page
State Funding - OPSCOPSC is under the authority of the State of California’s Department of General Services. As staff to the State Allocation Board, OPSC implements and administers a $35 billion voter-approved school facilities construction program.
The Compliance Monitoring Unit or “CMU” was a component within the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement created to monitor and enforce prevailing wage requirements on public works projects that received state bond funding and on other projects that were legally required to use the CMU.
The laws and regulations that govern the new program became effective January 1, 2012, but ended June 20, 2014. Only projects for which the public works contract was awarded on or after January 1, 2012, and on or before June 19, 2014 were subject to the CMU requirements.
DIR Prevailing Wage/Compliance Monitoring Unit Main Page
Senate Bill 854 created the Public Works Contractor Registration Program. The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) monitoring and enforcement is now funded from registration fees rather than payments from contract awarders. For more information please see the DIR website page:
SB 854 - Important Information for Awarding Bodies
When the project is finished and all construction activities are complete, DSA will issue a Final Certification of Construction. The links below will help to guide you through the process of closing your project out.
OPSC Project Information Worksheet
Below are the links to key school facility contacts within each agency. These contact links are also listed in the appropriate sections above.