In 2006, the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) staff presented Attorney General’s Opinion 05-405 to the State Allocation Board (SAB). This opinion concluded that school districts needed to competitively bid contracts for the acquisition and installation of modular school facilities that would be installed on permanent foundations in order to be eligible for state funding. At this time the SAB directed that all contracts related to the acquisition and installation of permanent modular facilities signed after January 25, 2006, had to be competitively bid to receive state school construction funding.

Over the past 15 years, several alternate interpretations of this AG opinion developed and numerous school districts throughout the state used the piggyback procurement method to construct new school facilities. In 2021, OPSC became aware of these interpretations and re-circulated the 2006 AG opinion to their stakeholders as a reminder of the SAB’s 2006 action.

As a result of the SAB’s action on June 22, OPSC has developed a webpage as a resource for stakeholders and users of the state school facilities program. OPSC staff will continue to process and present applications for approval that signed piggyback contracts on or prior to August 21, 2021. OPSC has developed and begun to implement a new intake and review process to ensure that funds are not released for projects that use piggyback contracts for modular school facilities.

OPSC staff has indicated that there will not be exceptions made for those transitional kindergarten and/or full-day kindergarten applications that are being considered for the current funding round.

It is important to note that AG opinion 05-405 is a legal opinion and it is not a law. It is also important to note that piggyback contracting remains a valid and legal procurement method for other personal property that a school district needs to acquire. It is recommended that local education agencies continue to seek their legal counsels’ opinion and direction when using piggyback contracts. CASH and other groups continue to seek a legislative fix to this issue.

If your school district needs assistance navigating this compliance or has any questions, please contact me.

Julie Strauss

Director School Advisors

Julie is HMC's PreK-12 market leader and has 15 years of experience assisting PreK-12 districts throughout California to maximize and secure state funding. She is active in the Coalition of Adequate School Housing (CASH). She has served on the Legislative Advisory Committee, completed the CASH Leadership Academy, and recently received her Accredited Learning Environment Planner (ALEP) designation with the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE).

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