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    & Oversight
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  • Project Decision Guidelines

    TO:                  Board of Education
    FROM:            Constance Hubbard, Superintendent



    Safety of human life is at the core of the inquiry to the District’s facilities and the basis for Measure E.From the initial question about seismic safety of our buildings in 2001 by a group of concerned citizens through the passage of Measure E by the community in 2006, safety has been at the core.Providing a safe environment for all who use the District’s facilities is one component of the fiduciary (i.e.hold in trust) responsibility of the Board of Education.Prudent management of all of the Piedmont Unified School District’s resources is that to which the members of the Board of Education as trustees must be accountable.  The guidelines for decisions in the definition of program and scope of projects for Measure E include the consideration of a spectrum of issues that requires the application of overarching policies. 

    This evening, the Board will begin the discussion of the policy and planning issues linked to the decisions required in the Program Plan Development phase of the Measure E projects.  The Superintendent has provided information on the issues and recommendations.  The Board will consider the recommendations and begin discussion on the issues this evening.  The discussion will continue over the next two Board meetings and will allow opportunity for community input.  Discussions on the issues will also be scheduled at the site’s Parent Club meetings in October.The goal is to have defined Guidelines for Project Plan Development by November 14, 2007 for use in the Program Plan Development that begins at the Special Board Meeting scheduled for November 28, 2007.  The Guidelines will serve as the principles by which decisions are made to determine scope and sequence of projects as we go through the prioritization of project components.

    Measure E, as stated on the ballot, authorized the District to issue bonds up to a total of $56 million for the purpose of “repair, reconstruct, or replace Piedmont public school buildings to reduce dangers from earthquakes and to meet state and federal seismic safety standards”.  The full text of the measure included the expectation for the improvement of accessibility per the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), and the addressing of safety issues such as non-structural seismic hazards and fire alarm systems.

    The process for implementation of Measure E has three phases:

    1.    Project Investigation and Concept Development
    (completion November 2007)

    2.    Program Plan Development – Defining Scope and Sequence
    of all Projects (November 28, 2007 – January 2008)

    3.    Implementation and Construction (February 2008 – Program completion)

    The first phase will be substantially completed by November 2007.The information for all individual projects that have been brought to the Board for review over the past year will be presented together at a Special Board Meeting on November 28, 2007. The presentation will include a summary of all of the information and a draft Program Plan that includes options for project budgets, scope and sequencing.  The public input process is scheduled to go through January 2008.  The goal is to have an approved Program Plan that includes a prioritized list of projects, with scope, sequencing and budget so that the Implementation and Construction phase can begin. 

    In anticipation of the Program Plan Development phase that will define the scope and sequence of all of the projects, clear guidelines for evaluating the priorities for each project and the overall program will expedite the decision-making process.The approved Guidelines will help in the communication to the community of the decision making criteria used in the Project Program Development.

    Following is a list of issues, discussion of options and impacts and recommendations from the Superintendent.  The recommendations are based on the detailed information received as part of community input, paid consultants, volunteer experts working as advisory groups, and recommendations and input from school staff. 

    The goal is for the Board to discuss, receive input, and approve Guidelines for the Project Program Development Plan by November 14, 2007.  The approved guidelines will be used in the prioritization process for the adopted Program Plan for Measure E.


    ISSUE (1):  Use of Measure E Funds as it applies to “reducing dangers from earthquakes” The language and intent of the Measure E program is open to interpretation. The Board needs to agree on guidelines as to the application of the range of the use of Measure E funds to individual projects and the overall plan.

    OPTION 1.a:  Apply fiscally conservative criteria for use of funds for minimum upgrades required to meet the state and federal guidelines for the FEMA definition of “life safe”.


    • Does not consider usability of buildings post earthquake
    • Aesthetics and function may be reduced/impaired
    • State agencies such as Division of the State Architect (DSA) and the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) have requirements that require upgrades not directly linked to life safety FEMA standards
    • May not be best “bang for the buck”, given the disruption and invasiveness of work required. 

    OPTION 1.b:  Use Measure E funds on all structures that require seismic work, accessibility and fire life system upgrades and address infrastructure upgrades at the same time.


    • Will allow for consideration of usability of buildings post earthquake
    • Aesthetics and function may be improved
    • Addresses the non-structural hazards
    • Will address requirements of State agencies such as (DSA) and the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC)
    • Program request likely to exceed funds available
    • Increases duration of Program
    • Citizens Oversight Committee (COC) may not agree with scope


    ISSUE (2):  Use of “matching” Modernization Funds from State.  The District has verified eligibility from the State for modernization funds.  The eligibility and receipt of funds are not synonymous.  The Program Plan Development must include a criteria for the budgeting of eligible funds and options for the timeline for the actual receipt of funds from the State by the District.

    OPTION 2.a:  Budget State Modernization funds to supplement (replace) the use of Measure E funds


    • May be able to issue less than total bond authorization for lower tax rate for community
    • Must address requirements of State agencies such as (DSA) and the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) and all requirements for receipt of “match”.
    • Preliminary budgets indicate that Measure E projects will exceed the District required match and therefore supplanting is allowable.
    • Does not address any infrastructure improvements (e.g.HVAC systems, technology)
    • Does not address any program improvements
    • Defined projects not dependent on actual receipt of State funds
    • Does not take best advantage of the disruption to the educational program during construction


    OPTION 2.b:  Budget Modernization funds to supplement (add) the use of Measure E funds


    • Must address requirements of State agencies such as (DSA) and the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) and all requirements for receipt of “match”.Preliminary budgets indicate that Measure E projects will exceed the District required match.  District has discretion as to use Modernization Funds once match is provided.
    • Funds could be used to address non-Measure E needs for infrastructure improvements (e.g.HVAC systems, technology)
    • Provides opportunities to address program improvements
    • Leverages the Measure E funds to address facilities needs
    • Modernization funds not under purview of COC
    • Budgets may exceed realized revenues if State funds are not available


    RECOMMENDATION (Issues 1 and 2)

    Budget Measure E funds to address all safety issues related to earthquakes including non-structural deficiencies identified as first priority.No reduction of programmatic functioning is primary in the addressing of seismic needs.  Use opportunities whenever possible to improve educational program function and flexibility for the future.Budget State Modernization funds to address infrastructure issues to leverage Measure E funds on projects.Develop a prioritized list of program improvements to apply as the schedule for receipt of State funds is confirmed.For example, the addressing of seismic structural issues will require the invasion of wall and roof systems.  Use Modernization funds to insure electrical, heating and technology infrastructure systems are improved.  Use Measure E funds as the primary source for structural improvements.Use Modernization funds remaining to improve programmatic functions at each school.Consider usability after an earthquake in the structural criteria, design and implementation of projects.

    ISSUE (3):  Accessibility and Fire and Life Safety Requirements.  There is a broad range to which accessibility and fire and life safety criteria could be addressed.  The Program Plan requires guidelines for the depth and breadth as to how these issues will be addressed in the final plans.

    OPTION 3.a:   Address only the minimum requirements of DSA and OPSC


    • May not include a level that represents respect for all to have access to our  facilities for the educational process and as a community resource
    • May not provide the minimum level of safety for non-structural hazards such as fire
    • May be the most cost effective


    OPTION 3.b: Address all requirements at all sites


    • Is cost prohibitive
    • Unlikely can anticipate all needs
    • Existing terrain and structures interfere



    It is likely that the requirements of DSA and OPSC on sites/projects that require major construction will be sufficient to respectfully address accessibility and provide an adequate level of safety. 

    The dilemma is for projects that may not require significant construction for seismic improvement that triggers required accessibility and fire life safety upgrades.The District could choose not to include these projects in the overall Program Plan and therefore not be required to address accessibility or the fire and life systems.  It is recommended that all sites have the fire alarm systems upgraded to meet current standards as part of the Measure E projects.  Long term plans to address accessibility issues for sites to be developed and addressed through a combination of Measure E and the Deferred Maintenance program.  It is understood that all accessibility needs cannot be anticipated and/or addressed given the topography of Piedmont.  A plan to improve wherever possible is an important component of the Measure E program and in keeping with the District’s mission to serve all students.


    ISSUE (4):  Historic/Aesthetic Requirements in Design.   The Board of Education recognizes their responsibility to the community to protect the historically significant aesthetic assets of the school facilities. 

    OPTION 4.a:   Cost as the primary driver in design decisions and implementation


    • Features of school buildings such as interior finishes in the auditoriums, murals in schools, tile roofs vary in historical significance
    • Cost differential may/may not be significant
    • Environmental quality review requirements (CEQA) may require review of historic designation that could delay projects.


    OPTION 4.b:   Preserve aesthetic features of all buildings as is


    • Have an obligation to community to protect assets including features of school buildings that have aesthetic value such as interior finishes in the auditoriums, murals in schools, tile roofs.The obligation includes application of best fiscal practices
    • Not all features of current structures are historically significant
    • Aesthetics value is not obviously, uniformly definable
    • Cost differential may/may not be significant
    • Address environmental quality review requirements (CEQA) from beginning of all projects.



    Address all buildings 50 years or older as if designated as historic sites in the development of the repair options.  Evaluate the cost differential of maintaining the historic features versus not.  It is important to note that some of the issues such as the tile roof systems once disrupted may be no more expensive to repair to the same aesthetics.  Seek repair options that maintain murals and internal features in the auditoriums.Preliminary investigations indicate that the cost differential to maintain historic features is not significant.  In the design development, when a specific aspect of a project is identified to have economically disparate impacts, consultants are to bring to the Steering Committee for a recommendation and to the Board for decision.


    ISSUE (5):  Application of Sustainability/Green in Design.  The fiduciary responsibility of the Board includes attention to the effect on inhabitants of structures from the materials used, long term environmental impacts and fiscally responsible maintenance and energy use. 

    OPTION 5.a:  Require all designs to meet the requirement for LEEDTM (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, and California High Performing Schools (CHPS)


    • Requirements address sustainability in choice of materials and use of energy
    • Provides more ecologically friendly materials/use
    • Certification process often expensive and time-consuming
    • Could delay projects
    • May impact cost
    • May increase eligibility for State grants


    OPTION 5.b:   Do not consider sustainability issues in design and choice of materials.


    • Not responsible to environment, community and students of future
    • May impact cost
    • May affect long-term cost for energy, replacement and maintenance



    Require all designs and materials to consider the requirements for LEEDTM and CHPS.Incorporate sustainability and ecological impact for now and the future for use and selection of materials.  Consider long-term implication for maintenance of facilities.  Require all steps for certification only if improves eligibility for increased funding.  Evaluate cost impact over long term in decision making process for specific issues.


    ISSUE (6):  Consideration of Program Improvements Flexibility for facilities use for the current and future programmatic needs is a Board responsibility. Addressing the safety issues of the facilities will require the significant disruption of the educational process.  Guidelines for the extent to which program improvement considerations are applied in the prioritization process will be critical in the development of the overall Program Plan Development.

    OPTION 6.a:   Program improvements are not the purpose of Measure E and should not be considered


    • Not responsible to community and students of future to ignore
    • Fiscal implications not clear
    • Some programmatic improvements such as accessibility required to be addressed


    OPTION 6.b:   Consider program improvements only for those structures that will be disrupted by significant structural work as part of Measure E


    • May affect parity for opportunities for students across the District
    • May allow for addressing flexibility and future needs as doing work


    OPTION 6.c:  Consider program improvements for all sites in Program Plan Development


    • Addresses parity for educational opportunities for all students across the District
    • Addresses flexibility and future needs for all sites
    • Funding of program improvements may not be allowable as part of Measure E and/or State Modernization fund
    • Needs are in excess of currently available funds
    • Cannot anticipate all future needs



    Given the level of invasive work that is required to address the seismic issues, it is incumbent on the design team to consider program needs.Solving as many issues at once as possible is in keeping with Board goals.  It makes sense to address programmatic and infrastructure needs at the same time students, staff and the facility is being disrupted.   For example, a project may require the entire interior wall finishes in a classroom to be removed.  It makes good fiscal sense to make sure that systems within the walls (e.g.insulation, electrical, technology) are addressed before the walls are replaced and that the wall system that is installed meets the current and future when it can be anticipated; teaching needs (e.g.replacement of blackboards with “smart” boards, installation of projector mounts with the ceiling replacement).

    It is recommended that the Board direct staff to define programmatic needs and to develop strategies to address issues of parity in conjunction with the Measure E Program Plan.  This may include alternative methods of delivery of programs, additional teaching resources and professional development opportunities for staff.

    In the same vein as having facilities standards for facilities, we are committed to educational standards for the teaching environment.  This includes making sure that all students in the District have comparable opportunities as they progress through the grades.  This becomes particularly important at the elementary level because of having three sites.  Parity in program offerings as they are impacted by facilities for all sites must be considered in the Program Development.  Educational interests can be addressed in multiple ways that include resources other than those under the purview of Measure E. 


    ISSUE (7):  Consideration of Use of Facilities Following an Earthquake Measure E is intended to make our buildings safer in the event of an earthquake.Imbedded in this notion is the housing of students in a safe environment after an earthquake.

    OPTION 7.a:   Address only those projects that are identified as deficient by current standards to meet the life safe definition by FEMA standards


    • Some sites may not meet the technical definition of “life safe” but are unlikely to collapse and likely to allow for safe exiting after an earthquake.
    • Some sites meet the technical definition of life safe and are unlikely to be usable after an earthquake. 

    OPTION 7.b:  In addition to the FEMA standards, evaluate buildings for likely use after an earthquake.  Use professional judgment and provide recommendations for likely performance during and after an earthquake (, yellow, and green tagging by FEMA)


    • Fiscal implications – increase in use of funds now versus cost of repair after an earthquake
    • May affect sequencing of projects from original grouping


    Recovery after an earthquake is an integral part of the overall Program Plan Development.  The cost of strengthening prior to an earthquake is likely to be significantly less than repair after an earthquake.  The unknown is how the structure will actually behave and what damages are sustained.  The strict application of the ASCE standards may not accomplish the intent of Measure E in a fiscally responsible manner.The professional consultants’ recommendations as part of the Program Plan Development will include likely use after an earthquake for each project.  The priority order of projects may need to be altered to improve the District’s ability to attend to after an earthquake.  The maintenance facility, for example, is in the third category to be addressed.  In the Program Plan, it may make sense to address it sooner than later to improve our ability to attend to the needs of the sites after an earthquake.


    The agreement and communication on the guiding criteria for decision-making by the Board before the November 28, 2007 Board Meeting that begins the decision making phase of the Program Plan Development will aid in the prioritization process.With clarity on the over-arching issues, decisions about the details of the scope and sequence of projects can proceed from a common starting point. 

    The goal is, by November 14, 2007, to have approved Guidelines for Project and Program Plan Development that can be applied as we begin the next phase for Measure E implementation on November 28, 2007.  It is anticipated that clear guidelines will expedite the overall Project Plan so the Implementation and Construction phase can begin as soon as possible.Inflation and market conditions significantly impact the budgeting of projects.  Delays can also significantly impact the receipt of funds from the State.Once the Project Program Plan is developed, issues of cash flow and bond issuance can be addressed.



    It is recommended that the Board discuss the issues and recommendations as presented.  There will be opportunity for further discussion and input from the public at the next Board meeting and additional Board meetings, as appropriate.  The recommendations will be posted on the website at .  The goal is to have the criteria finalized by November 14, 2007.

    This update was posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 at 8:32 pm.