The Auditor of the State of California released their annual auditor’s report with the following letter. The full report can be found here: https://www.auditor.ca.gov/reports/2021-115/index.html
January 27, 2022
The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
Sacramento, California 95814
As directed by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, my office conducted an audit of the Office of Public School Construction and three school districts. Our assessment focused on California’s School Facilities Program (facilities program), and the following report details our conclusion that the State can improve the facilities program by increasing funding and making changes to improve equity in the way K‑12 facility modernization is funded.
We determined that California will need $7.4 billion in state funding to meet existing and anticipated modernization funding requests over the next five years. The State has historically funded modernization projects from general obligation bonds, which are a reasonable and common way to pay for infrastructure projects. We conclude that bond funding remains the best option to fund school facility modernization projects on an ongoing basis.
Further, we found that the State could increase equity in the facilities program by adjusting its approach to funding projects. With certain exceptions, the State Allocation Board reviews and approves funding for projects in the order it receives applications. However, the current first-come, first-served approach disadvantages school districts that are unable to advance their projects with their own local funds while waiting for state funding. Prioritizing the funding of projects from financially challenged districts would address this inequity in the facilities program.
MICHAEL S. TILDEN, CPA
Acting California State Auditor